What Can I do for my Baby?

What Can I do for my Baby?

It is important that you are a part of your baby’s care. Talk to the staff caring for your baby about everything that you can do. Some examples include:

  • When visiting your baby; sit by their bedside and talk, read or sing to them. Babies like to hear your voice.
  • When your baby is being cooled you can hold your baby’s hand, foot or touch them to let them know you are there.
  • Many hospitals will allow you to provide some of the basic cares such as nappy changing or helping to feed your baby milk.
  • If you wish to breastfeed, then at first you will need to express your milk. Nursing staff on the unit will be able to help you with this. Your breast milk will be stored in the refrigerator or freezer until your baby is ready to be fed. It is important that you begin expressing your milk as soon as possible after the birth of your baby. The doctors will decide when this is safe to give your baby breast milk and initially your baby will receive it through a tube placed through the nose or mouth that leads to the stomach. As your baby develops you may be able to put him or her to the breast.
  • Ask as many questions as you need to. It is important that you understand your baby’s treatment and progress.
  • Make sure that you look after yourself, attend postnatal checks and talk about how you feel

The nurses will help you to provide as much care as possible, but just being there is important. Equally, sick babies need a lot of peace and quiet and some hospitals try to have some ‘quiet times’ when no procedures are carried out and babies are left undisturbed.

When your baby is no longer being cooled and even if your baby is still connected to machines and tubes, the medical and nursing staff can help you to hold your baby. Some parents enjoy kangaroo care. This is skin to skin contact with your baby, which can help build a close bond between you and your baby and for mothers can stimulate breastfeeding. The Bliss booklet “Skin to Skin” describes how parents can do this.

During this difficult time, it is important that you take care of yourself. Make sure that you receive the postnatal care you need so that you are as healthy as possible. Having a baby in intensive or special care can be stressful for families; talk about how you are feeling. Some people have support within their family and are able to tell them everything that is happening with their baby and how they feel. Others wish to only tell a select number of people about how unwell their baby is. It’s important that you do what is right for you and your family. If you feel that you want extra support, call the Bliss Freephone helpline on 0500 618 140, or talk to your GP to access counselling.