Having a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit can be scary and super emotional experience. Let’s take a look at some of the basic truths about NICU babies and what all other moms out there should keep in mind.
What you need to know about NICU babies
1. They feel your energy when you approach them
The energy you carry has a profound impact when you visit NICU babies. These babies are even more perceptive than you think, and if you’re feeling emotions like stress, anxiety or nervousness, they’ll sense it. Before approaching the baby’s crib, take a moment to calm yourself before entering their world. Try to speak in low voices and always use a gentle touch to show these babies that you are ready to care for them.
2. NICU babies can’t process too much info in one shot
Babies work super hard to take in and make sense of the information surrounding them. They need to work through what they’re seeing, hearing, feeling and tasting, all at once. This is why babies in the NICU ward have to be allowed to process one piece of information at a time. If your baby is being visually stimulated, limit noise and touch.
4. He or she can smell you coming
Babies in the NICU already have a well-developed sense of smell when they are born, and one of the things that calm them is the scent of their mom. They can smell you coming when it’s visiting time, so why not consider leaving a piece of your clothing with them when you leave? This will help keep your baby calm and content for the times you cannot be physically present.
5. They really need skin-to-skin contact
Kangaroo care (or babywearing) is great for helping your baby develop his senses and also promotes bonding. When you give your baby a lot of skin-to-skin contact, you can also help regulate his temperature, heart rate, respiration, and brain development.
6. Your baby is super cam when he hears familiar sounds
While he or she was still in the womb, your baby’s hearing started developing. They got used to the sounds of life in the womb, which is why it’s something that calms and soothes them. Aside from white noise, a mother’s voice is also great for calming NICU babies. It’s important to talk to your baby whenever you have an opportunity.