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NICU Awareness Month 2023

September is NICU Awareness Month, a crucial time set aside to shed light on the experiences of families and healthcare providers involved in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). It serves as an opportunity to provide educational resources, extend emotional support, and acknowledge the relentless commitment of medical staff in this specialized field. In this post from the International Biomedical blog, we’ll provide a glimpse into the NICU – what to expect, what to know, and how you can help parents with children who are patients.  

The NICU Experience

The NICU is more than just a ward in a hospital; it’s a haven where new lives fight their first battles, assisted by cutting-edge technology and dedicated healthcare professionals.

What to Expect in the NICU

Upon entering the NICU, you’ll encounter a range of advanced medical equipment, such as radiant warmers, incubators, monitors, and ventilators, all aimed at providing specialized care for premature or ill newborns. The environment is highly sanitized and organized, designed to reduce the risk of infection. Lighting and sound are also a big concern in the NICU, so expect a low-lighting environment and remember to use your quiet, inside voice. 

What Parents Need to Know About the NICU

Information is power, and understanding the nuances of NICU operations can alleviate some of the stress associated with a NICU stay. Here we cover some essential tips and practices that parents should be aware of.

  • It’s Okay to Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask for clarifications about your baby’s condition or treatment and be your baby’s advocate.
  • Be Involved: Bonding with your baby through touch and voice can help in their developmental process.  Skin-to-skin time is not always possible, so do what you can to touch your child as often as possible.
  • Trust the Process: Treatment protocols are in place for a reason. Understand that your baby is in expert hands.

Things NICU Nurses Wish Parents Knew About the NICU

NICU nurses and clinicians are the unsung heroes who make a significant impact on both the babies’ and parents’ NICU experience. In this section, we’ll share some of the insights and tips from these healthcare professionals.

  • Communication is Crucial: Regular updates and consultations are key to staying informed. Be there to listen to nurses each step of the way, without judgment and with an understanding of the pressure that they are under as well. 
  • Self-Care Matters: Nurses want parents to know that taking care of themselves is essential for them to be able to take care of their baby.  

Preparing for a NICU Journey

Preparation can provide a semblance of control in an otherwise overwhelming situation.

Preparing for a NICU Stay

Equip yourself with essential items like clothing for your baby, snacks for yourself, and comfort objects like a familiar blanket or stuffed animal.

What Do Parents Need While Their Baby Is in the NICU?

Emotional support is just as vital as any material preparation. Create a support system of family and friends who can offer emotional support and practical help.

Supporting the Support Givers: How to Help NICU Parents

For those looking to assist families with infants in the NICU, there are several meaningful ways to offer your support.

Best Ways to Support NICU Parents

Knowing how to offer effective and sensitive support to NICU parents can be challenging. This section provides some tried and true methods for offering both emotional and practical support.

  • Be Present: Emotional support is invaluable when a parent has a child in the NICU. Be there to listen, or just to provide the parent with company.  You don’t need to have all the answers or say the right things.  You just need to be there for them.
  • Offer Practical Help: Assist in household chores, cooking meals, or running errands. Anything to take the pressure off of the parent.  If there is another sibling in the family, offer to be a caretaker so the parent(s) can focus on their NICU baby.

International Biomedical Supports NICU Awareness

At International Biomedical, we are committed to advancing the state of neonatal care through our range of reliable and advanced infant care solutions. During NICU Awareness Month and beyond, we salute the resilience of NICU families and the dedication of the healthcare professionals who make miracles happen every day. Your journey is our journey, and we strive to offer products and insights that make the road a little easier to travel.