My cousin had an emergency c-section at 29 weeks, any advice/tips on having such a little baby and an extended NICU stay?
Visit her if you can.
Bring food. And card/board games she can play.
My son was in the NICU 2 weeks and I wouldn't have made it through if it hadn't been for a good friend whose kids had been in the NICU too. The support is essential. Encourage her to seek other parents through the Network the hospital should have.
The NICU is a daily roller-coaster and remember to celebrate the good days and achievements because there will be hard days.
Take lots of pictures because you would if you were home. Bring items from home so it doesn't feel quite so hospital. Use the days to update the baby book. Ask a million questions of the doctors and nurses. They are amazing and will become part of the family.
It’s lonely in the nicu so for friends to reach out but understand the parents have no answers, visitors will not be able to touch or hold baby, and it’s really hard to go home every night without your baby- so be understanding and not too pushy with questions. Best of luck to your cousins
Try and use the opportunity to learn as much as you can from the incredible nurses and doctors. During my son’s NICU stay I was able to get a lactation consultant to come by a few times to help with breastfeeding. Also, take some time for yourself - it’s so hard to leave your baby but it always helped to go home and take a shower and have a healthy home cooked meal. Best of luck to your cousin and their baby
Agreed with Stephanie. My son was in NICU for 10 days and the nurses taught us so much. Also, you can’t be in the NICU 24/7. You want to be there but it’s draining - that new mama needs to rest and recover, too.
Get rest! It’s going to be so hard to do, but taking a nap and healthy sleeping patterns will be helpful for staying positive and alert. Also, know that everything will be over soon
Tell her to definitely take care of herself . My daughter was in NICU a week and even that short time I felt helpless and lost. I finally had to tell myself that to take care of her I needed to take cafe of myself. I was pumping and sending my milk to her but I made sure I got rest, food, water, and love and support from friends and family was pivotal. The NICU is full of amazing people and connections. Often they will have a mentor family they can partner you with to help with navigating all the ins and outs of NICU life. Some hospitals offer a NICU support group as well. I wanted to feel involved and asked the nurse if I could change her diapers while I was there and tried to pump on the schedule they were feeding her. Even though she was too small for the breast I still felt like I was on her schedule and helping her. The nurses also let me take clothes for her and it made me feel better to take somethung that was hers and change her and wash the dirty ones. I felt like I was doing all I could to help her. Your friend's baby is going to be extra tiny but there are websites and Etsy shops devoted to micro preemie clothing. Every trip to the NICU was so heavy on my heart but just being near her made me feel stronger. I wanted to be strong for her. I truly wish her all the best and hope the little one does well and meets all the goals they set for them. It's a road less traveled and a rocky one. Take advantage of all the assistance the hospital offers to you.
My baby was in the NICU for a month. Others have said this, but making sure your cousin has food at home for easy quick meals is a huge help for a NICU mom. You are constantly on the go between home and the hospital and also having to make time to pump. If she is pumping, I would suggest getting her some premier protein shakes. They were so easy for the mornings and you need a lot of protein when your supply is coming in. Preemie clothes are also great to have. It’ll probably be a little while before they let the baby wear clothes because it’ll be in the incubator, but once it is allowed they are great to have. Third, see if she needs any clothes to wear. Most moms don’t have to go out in public this early postpartum and she may need a few new tops or leggings to wear to the hospital. Other than that, prayers, support, and a shoulder to cry on. When your hormones are going crazy already it is unbearable to leave and go home without your baby!
It’s a long journey. Don’t let her get isolated from the outside world.