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NICU: A Place for Sick Babies

One of the biggest fears of all expectant parents is there baby being born and ending up having to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. It can be very hard for parents to deal with the fact that their newborn has ended up in the NICU, when they had been preparing to have the baby and bring him home with them, problem free.

nicu-a-place-for-sick-babies.jpgSo what is the NICU and why would your baby have to go there? The NICU is a specialized nursery with specialized nurses that is put in place to help babies who are born with problems. The most common reason for a baby to be placed in the NICU is because they are born premature, or too early to survive out of the womb on their own. It has special equipment designed to quickly stabilize your baby and help him get healthy enough for you to take home, as soon as possible.

Reasons your baby may go to the NICU vary, but can include:

  • Being born prematurely
  • Difficulties occur during birth
  • Problems arise within the few days immediately following birth

Only the youngest of babies are treated in the NICU, normally babies who have not yet been sent home from the hospital. If you are sent home with a healthy baby and he later has to be hospitalized in intensive care, he will generally go to the pediatric intensive care unit, or PICU.

Babies who are sent to the NICU are normally given more hands on care by the nurses, and rarely is the nurse taking care of more than 2 babies at a time. However, not only does your baby have his nurse taking care of him, there is also the nurse in charge of the shift to help, as well as other additional doctors and nurses who specialize in different areas of neonatal care. These may include:

  • Neonatologist
  • Medical residents and students
  • Respiratory specialists
  • Nutritionists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Other specialists
  • Hospital Chaplain
  • Social Worker

Depending on the problems your baby is experiencing you may meet all or just a few of the above hospital staff during your baby’s stay in the hospital.

Be sure to write down all your questions if you are not at the hospital when you think of them to ask immediately. You will have many questions arise regarding the health and care of your baby including, “What is wrong with my baby? How long will my baby be here? Is my baby ok?” You will have new questions and concerns coming up daily that you will want to get answers too as soon as possible. Remember, besides taking care of your baby, the nurse is there to answer your questions and reassure you.

The NICU is likely to seem very much like another planet when you walk in. There may be several babies in the NICU at once. It will probably be very quiet in there as parents sit with their babies and talk to them, and the nurse’s move around quietly taking care of babies. At times it may be very bright in the room, although often it will be darker while the babies sleep. Even though there are parents with their babies and nurses moving around, it will seem silent as the many machines around you are beeping.

If your baby is going to be in the NICU for a while, it is important that you find ways early on to make it manageable for you. Explore the hospital, the cafeteria, the surrounding restaurants and hotels so that you know quickly and easily where you can stay if needed and where you can eat. Find a quiet place in the hospital where you can lay down to rest during the day if necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Try to remain positive for your baby, and keep yourself rested so that you can properly care for your baby when you bring him home.

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9 Comments on "NICU: A Place for Sick Babies"

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[…] Your baby continues to put on weight by about 1/2 pound each week. It’s no wonder the womb is becoming very cramped. Your baby is gaining weight quickly because layers of fat pile on and help in both body temperature regulation and developing his immunity in preparation for life in the outside world. You may find you are carrying your baby much lower now (or soon will be) as the baby drops into the birth canal, readying himself for birth. Your baby is about 19 inches long and weighs from 5.5 to 6.0 pounds. The vast majority of babies… Read more »
4 years 9 months ago
Those NICU babies are so special. My baby was born at 25 weeks 6 days. She has currently been in the NICU for 114 days and counting. Looking at atleast another month there. May God continue to bless each and everyone there. It is true, like another planet down there but the Dr. and nurses are trained to take care of your baby. Some of them you like or even love when they care for your baby but others you may not like. You have to take the good with the bad and take it one day at a time!… Read more »
Ruth Sen
5 years 5 months ago
My little girl was born at 33 weeks, April 30th 2011 in Bangalore, India (I was a bit nervous having a baby outside of US but everything turned out fine) and was in NICU for 10 days. She was on ventilator for 3 days and it was very difficult to see her with all the life saving machines hooked up to her and to see her look so lifeless. But the doctors and nurses were excellent. The first 3 days were really difficult because we were not allowed to even touch her. I spent those first 3 day praying 24/7.… Read more »
5 years 7 months ago

my baby was born at 24 weeks and 4 days, he spend around 106 days in the N ICU, this experience was difficult but at the same time me my family strong. the nurse, doctor all equipment was lovely persons, they pay attention to my son 24/7 in any need or emergencies.
now my baby is in home healthy and strong.

5 years 8 months ago

[…] more in Trey’s case!!). The vast majority of babies born now will live with little need for intensive medical treatment. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Week 34 LikeBe […]

5 years 11 months ago

My daughter was in the NICU for 16 days because she was born at 32 weeks. I was very worried and upset at first, but it was much better for her to be there than at home. I am very much appreciative of all of the doctors and nurses there and too all of you mothers whose children also end up in the NICU just keep your head up. I know it’s hard but they will only be there until they are ready to go home, and then you can enjoy your son/daughter and know they are healthy and safe.

7 years 4 months ago

being in NICU is a very safe & good place for babies especially premature im quite experience my abby was in there for 15Days as i deleverd her 36weeks but more safe and happy &cared more than how u will do at home

[…] green. In many cases of hospital births where the baby has passed meconium before birth, a special NICU team will be called when the baby is delivered in case there was ingestion of the meconium into the […]

Hollis Trusty
7 years 8 months ago

Hey I really like this website because I really know how these mothers feel well my mom told me how she felt when I was in the NICU and so I feel for you mothers.. your babies will be fine because God will heal them trust me I know I have seen it happpen before

God Bless You everyone :]

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