Dear New Mommy in the NICU … | NICU Mom Series


Dear New Mommy in the NICU …

I know you are worried and scared. Take a deep breath, and let’s have a quick chat. Mom to mom.

My experience as a NICU mommy was very unexpected. R was a full term baby, born on his due date, after a healthy and uneventful pregnancy (find his birth story at the end of this post). He suffered Meconium Aspiration Syndrome at birth and was critically ill. We spent 19 days in the NICU. My husband and I both were scared and clueless.  Knowing what I know now, here are 5 things I need you to know …

dear new mommy in the NICU

This is not your fault

It’s not your fault. Your baby is not in the NICU because of something you did or didn’t do during your pregnancy. It wasn’t what you ate, or how much you exercised or how stressed you were at work. Things happen and we don’t always know why. Don’t beat yourself up, it’s not your fault.

This will not hurt your bond with your baby

I didn’t get to hold baby R during the entire first week of his life (except for a few seconds at birth). We did not have any skin to skin bonding, or breastfeeding right after he was born. This broke my heart as a mother and started a stream of worries about our ability to bond.

Your baby knows you and loves you. The bond a baby has with it’s mother is an amazing thing, and my NICU experienced proved it. Baby R and I are just as bonded as my first son and I are. He knows his mama and will never know the difference that one week made.

The nurses are your best friends

Lean on them, cry with them, ask them questions. I imagine every NICU in the world has the same amazing nurses that mine did. I wish I had opened up to our nurses sooner. They know everything about your baby’s health, the care plan, the best food in the cafeteria, how long rounds might take, and more.

You’re part of a club

Welcome to the NICU mommy club! It’s a club that no one intends to join. You are now bonded with so many other women who have been through a NICU stay with their babies. Share your story with them, and listen to their stories. If your NICU has a reunion, attend it! If they have a Parent’s Advisory Council, join!

This will not last forever

It can’t and it won’t. All of a sudden you’ll be signing discharge papers and taking a healthy baby home.

You’ll think back on this experience and wonder, “how did we do that every day? How did we get through that?”

But get through it you will.

Catch up on the rest of the NICU Mom Series here:

Baby R’s Birth Story | NICU Mom Series Intro.

The Ultimate NICU Survival List

How to Help a NICU Mom

Emily’s Whirlwind NICU Experience

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  1. I love these, especially “not your fault” and “wont’ last forever” because sometimes when you’re in the moment of something it feels eternal, but it is just a few short weeks and then the regular bonding can commence.
    Julie S. recently posted…Make Your Own Baby and Toddler Food in Reusable PouchesMy Profile

    • Thanks Julie! The guilt and wondering “what did I do wrong?” was so hard in the beginning! We were lucky that we had great nurses and doctors to reassure us.

  2. Great advice Erin. I’m sure a lot of mother’s wonder about how it will affect the bond with their baby. You are so right the NICU mommy community is so supportive of each other. I love how all of you come together and spread awareness about this topic. You are helping so many mothers, it’s amazing. Keep this series up. I love it.
    Healing Mama recently posted…Ask Away Thursday : Help! Strangers Were Holding My NewbornMy Profile

  3. This is such a great series! Its great that you can share your struggles and spread encouragement to moms facing the same challenges. I am your neighbor today on the 100 Happy Days linkup. So happy I found you!

    Brittany recently posted…10 Reasons to Love WinterMy Profile

  4. I was blessed to never have had a NICU baby. I have had friends and yes it does pass but not quickly enough.
    maria @closetohome recently posted…Candy Tackle Box Valentine’s Day IdeaMy Profile

  5. These are great tips, I feel fortunate that all 3 girls did not have to go into NICU but knowing your hospital staff makes a world of difference. You aren’t the first or last person to experience this so it is nice to spread the word that will help others if this happens to them.

  6. This was such a great read. My oldest was in the NICU for a few days when he was born and it was such a scary time for me as a new mom!

  7. Great list of tips! I can’t imagine how stressful and scary a NICU stay would be for parents. Information like this can help a family cope.

  8. WE were blessed to not have to worry about a Nicu stay. I honestly cannot imagine how hard it is for moms and dads to go through this. I love this letter. So heartfelt.

  9. What a great series and amazing support resource for NICU moms! My nephew had some issues at birth and ended up in the NICU. That was a scary experience as an aunt so I can’t event imagine what my sister was feeling. My nephew is now a happy and healthy 8-year-old. =)
    Trisha recently posted…Comment on Taking the Plunge like Norm of the North! #BreakTheNorm #IC by Dawn NIevesMy Profile

  10. So true that it will not hurt your bond with your baby. I think as new moms we are all so scared that if we don’t do something “right” that we won’t bond. But mother and child will always figure it out. 🙂

    I’m sorry you went through something so scary, but I applaud your ability to share and help others!

    • We get all of this pressure as moms to do skin to skin and breastfeed immediately! Then when that isn’t possible you’re left feeling like a failure! You are so right Katy, mom and baby always figure it out! 🙂

  11. So true, great wisdom in this post. Thank you for sharing and easing the guilt when a baby ends up in NICU

  12. Yes to all of these! I think you know, but my twins were both in the NICU for 3 months. Those first few days/weeks were the scariest, but it never really got easy to see them in the hospital. The nurses were so amazing, and so is the support of other moms that have been there.

  13. What a wonderful series this is for anyone in who finds themselves in this situation. I can’t even begin to imagine how this would feel.

    I also wanted to thank you for linking up with my blog party and for the words of encouragement you left me. Very much appreciated 🙂

  14. Oh my goodness, I can’t even imagine going through what you’ve been through. You’re so strong! Such great tips that any NICU mom probably really needs to hear!
    Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood recently posted…How to Get Smells Out of Wooden Cutting BoardsMy Profile

  15. What a beautiful and encouraging post. Thank you so much for sharing and providing strength for moms in the NICU. I can’t imagine having to wait a week before holding my son after he was born, your strength is proven in your journey.

  16. What a wonderful post and series! My eldest was a NICU baby and as a first time Mommy, I was terrified! It was before laptops and cell phones and wonderful blogs such as this, but, oh how it would have fed my soul! I pray you will bring peace to many sweet Mamas out there!
    Blessings and smiles,

  17. I can’t even imagine the worry of having a baby in NICU! This post will be so helpful to other mothers that find themselves in this situation…it always helps to know that other people have been there and made it through. Thanks so much for sharing at Share The Wealth Sunday!

  18. What uplifting and encouraging words.

    I never had to experience this (thank God) but I can only imagine the stress, frustration, despair, and concern.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…Save Time and Money By Cooking at HomeMy Profile

  19. What a great series… This is something you never understand fully until you walk through it 🙂
    Amanda recently posted…Learning From Each Other Blog Party #25My Profile

  20. Sound advice here. I’m sure your wise words will provide comfort for any mums going through something similar.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    Life Loving recently posted…Harry Potter Studio TourMy Profile

  21. Wonderful series, Erin – thanks for posting it over at #CoffeewithPatandCandy. Sadly, I’ve walked some friends through this journey, too…I think your ideas are spot-on!
    Pat recently posted…What your teen MUST do to have a successful gap yearMy Profile

  22. I can easily say that “this will not hurt your bond with your baby” would have been a HUGE worry for me, if I’d been in that position! These are great thoughts to share and I know they’ll help a ton of people! Thanks for joining us at Friday Frivolity and I hope to see you again next time! #FridayFrivolity
    Lisa/SyncopatedMama recently posted…Passport to Fun – A Unique Approach to Date NightMy Profile

    • It was a big worry of mine Lisa! Especially when I didn’t get to hold him that whole first week! <3 I'll be back next Friday for sure! 🙂

  23. This hit home so hard. My son is 4, but we spent a year in the NICU. The “Not your fault” was truly the hardest part for me to understand for such a long time.

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