NICU Don'ts

>> Sunday, February 25, 2007

First a couple of disclaimers:

  1. 99% of the parents and visitors I have met in the last 8 weeks in our NICU have been wonderful - there are a couple that I already consider friends and at least one whose kindness has saved my sanity on more than one occasion.
  2. I'm very well aware that this is a very difficult time for these people and that I'm not seeing them at their best. In fact, I've made more than a couple of boneheaded moves and comments of my first was absolutely insisting to a nurse that we begin breastfeeding as soon as possible. Umm Mom - did you not notice the ventilator hooked up to your daughter, you know the one that is BREATHING for her?

But this is my blog and I'll rant if I need to...

So if you are visiting a NICU for whatever reason - parent, grandparent, friends baby - here are a few things to avoid if you can.

  • "Did you see that tiny baby? It's really too bad, but you know all those really tiny kids had "druggie" moms..." might not be appropriate conversation in the NICU waiting room. Try to save your pearls of wisdom for a more private time.
  • This is not an exhibit and the other babies in the unit are not on display. Try to avoid "peeking" under the blankets that cover their isolettes. While you're at it Grandma, walking over to a Mom in a rocking chair, leaning over her shoulder and calling to your husband at the top of your lungs "Honey! Come here! You've got to see how tiny this one is!" is not only bad form...if Mom wasn't holding the baby it might have gotten you slapped!
  • All those warnings about germs and colds...they're serious! If you are sitting in the NICU waiting room, hacking away, complaining that they won't let you in to see your grandchild and that the policy is silly because everyone knows the only way to build up antibodies is to be exposed to germs - please don't be offended when I just get up and walk see, if I get sick thanks to your sharing I can't see my baby. I know we're never going to convince you but I'll try anyway - my child's lungs are immature, if she gets exposed to your germs and gets sick she could die! Make it easy on everyone and stay home until you feel better and are not contagious.
  • Looking at me in the scrub room and then commenting to your buddy about how lucky he is to be spending time with all these nursing moms is just....oh never mind it's hopeless!
  • I know it crowded in there and you really need to get that picture, but moving that pesky ventilator attached to my daughter so you can get a better shot of your little sweetpea is NOT an option!


Jen March 1, 2007 at 5:05 PM  

As an ex-NICU mom X 2, I applaud this post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Jen, mom of Grace (34 weeker, 1775 gms) and Meghan (27 weeker, 725 gms)

Half-Baked March 3, 2007 at 4:44 PM  

Thanks Jen, you probably have some good "don'ts" to share yourself...

Most days I'm OK with things and realize that people are just nervous etc...but sometimes a little common sense and common decency wouldn't exactly be out of place :)

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