Support 4 NICU Parents

Information updated on Tuesday, July 27th 2021, 13:55
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What this site is all about

If your baby is in the NICU, you are likely to experience a range of emotions as you begin to adjust with your situation. While parents are excited to welcome their babies to the world, we often struggle with complicated and contradictory emotions.

It isn’t unusual to experience fear, guilt, and even anger that your birth experience isn’t what you’d hoped and now your baby needs critical care. For most us of these difficult emotions begin to resolve over time. For some of us, those emotions can escalate into anxiety, postpartum depression, or even PTSD.

Please understand that you are feeling is normal. Even necessary. These feelings can help you adapt to your new role as a NICU parent. But they should’t interfere with your ability to bond with your baby or care for yourself. Ask for help. You are not alone. There are parents, professionals, and people who can help.

Use this website as a resource to understand and explore your adjustment to your new role as a NICU parent. Read about tools that can help and connect with the resources you need.

In January 2014, the National Perinatal Association convened a broad group of approximately 50 thought leaders and stakeholders— physicians (both neonatology and obstetrics), nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, developmental care specialists, psychologists, social workers, public health experts, parent support group leaders and parents—to develop interdisciplinary guidelines for psychosocial support services for parents whose infants are hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

This group convened with the common purpose of improving the level of psychosocial support provided to NICU parents as well as improving training and support for those who provide care in NICUs.  The group was responding to the personal stories of former NICU parents and to the body of literature that demonstrates an increased occurrence of postpartum depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders in NICU parents compared with parents of term infants.  Anyone who has ever stepped into a NICU–whether parent or healthcare provider–knows how stressful an experience it can be!

Learn about each of our resource areas

Peer Support:  Here you will find materials that will help you start a peer support organization as well as connect you with existing organizations.

Family-Centered Developmental Care:  Find information about how you can become more involved in your baby’s NICU team and how you can best support your baby’s brain development through your interactions with baby.

Mental Health Professionals in the NICU:  Roles of psychologists and social workers will be explained, as well as information that will help you best utilize their services.

Palliative and Bereavement Care:  You will find resources on birth plans for parents expecting babies who may be born with life-limiting conditions, links to special services such as remembrance photographers and Angel Gowns, as well as links to organizations that specialize in supporting bereaved parents.

Post-Discharge Support:  Getting ready to take baby home?  Find out more about what resources are available to you after you leave the NICU.

Staff Education and Support:  Find out what YOU can do to support your NICU staff!