10 Coping Tips for Parents with a Baby in the NICU


Equip Yourself for Changing Circumstances

Did you visualize what it would be like to learn you were pregnant and then to have the baby? Chances are, you stocked up on supplies during your pregnancy. Just as you prepared then, you can use preparation to help you now. In fact, Gunther, the March of Dimes manager of NICU Family Support Site Development mentioned earlier, describes this coping mechanism as "predict and prepare."

When you predict and prepare, you think through what may happen and ready yourself for it. For example, if you think your baby may need surgery, try to predict how you may react and what you'll need. Let people know and ask for assistance with daily chores so you can focus on your baby.

Or, Gunther gives another example of when she helped a mom think about what she would want at home when finally, after seven months, she was getting ready to take her baby home. She asked several questions -- Will you want people there? What would you like to eat? This is a moment of celebration; will your partner be there? Thinking ahead ensures you will have what you need and understand how you might react, whether it's a positive or negative event.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Baby Zone. 'NICU Newborns." (June 6, 2010)http://www.babyzone.com/baby/newborns/article/nicu-newborns
  • Bontrager, Katherine. "Delivery Room & ICU." Pregnancy Today. (June 6, 2010)http://www.pregnancytoday.com/articles/delivery-room-nicu/a-tour-of-the-nicu-5009/
  • Dyer, Kirsti A., M.D., M.S. F.T. "For Those Who Hold the Littlest Hands. Information & Support for Parents of Babies in the NICU." 2007. (June 6, 2010)http://www.nicuparentsupport.org/
  • Gunther, Lori, M.S., Manager, NICU Family Support Site Development, March of Dimes. Personal Correspondence. June 17, 2010.
  • Gunther, Lori, M.S., Manager, NICU Family Support Site Development, March of Dimes. Personal Interview. June 10, 2010.
  • KidsHealth. "Common Diagnoses in the NICU." June 2008. (June 6, 2010).http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/ill/nicu_diagnoses.html
  • KidsHealth. "When Your Baby's in the NICU." June 2008. (June 6, 2010)http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/ill/nicu_caring.html
  • March of Dimes. "Coping With the NICU Experience: A Father's Role." September 2007. (June 7, 2010)http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity/21292_11225.asp
  • March of Dimes. "Family & Friends: Grandparents and the NICU: Your Special Role; excerpt from Parent: You & Your Baby in the NICU." March of Dimes. September 2007. (June 7, 2010)http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity/21289_11210.asp
  • March of Dimes. "Family & Friends: Supporting Your Other Children." September 2007. (June 7, 2010)http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity/21289_11209.asp
  • March of Dimes. "For Families: The NICU Family Support Program." December 2007. (June 17, 2010).http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity/index_families_5769.asp
  • March of Dimes. "For Families: What We Know and What We Don't." April 2010. (June, 7, 2010)http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity/index_families_5578.asp
  • March of Dimes. "For Families: Why Do Women Delivery Early?" July 2009. (June 7, 2010)http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity/index_families_5582.asp
  • March of Dimes. "The NICU Roller Coaster; excerpt from Parent: You & Your Baby in the NICU." March of Dimes. August 2009. (June 6, 2010)http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity/11191.asp
  • March of Dimes. "Parenting in the NICU: Becoming an Informed Parent; excerpt from Parent: You & Your Baby in the NICU." March of Dimes. August 2009. (June 7, 2010)http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity/index_nicu_6084.asp
  • March of Dimes. "Professionals & Researchers." (June 17, 2010) http://www.marchofdimes.com/2222_11419.asp
  • Mayo Clinic. "Coping and support." November 25, 2009. (June 6, 2010)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/premature-birth/DS00137/DSECTION=coping-and-support
  • Nathan, M.D. "What Parents Needs to Know about the NICU." Baby Zone. (June 7, 2010)http://www.babyzone.com/baby/newborns/article/nicu-need-to-know
  • National Center for Health Statistics, final natality data. "Preterm Birth Overview." (June 17, 2010)http://www.marchofdimes.com/peristats/tlanding.aspx?reg=99&top=3&lev=0&slev=1
  • Robinson Himes, Erin. Personal Interview. June 9, 2010.
  • Seidman Golivesky, Shellie. Personal correspondence. June 7-9, 2010.
  • ShareYourStory.org. (June 15, 2010)


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