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Five Tips For Your Stay At The NICU 

Many of the babies we deliver will spend some time at the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center Dana Brown Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This can be a stressful time for any family, but there are a few things you can do to help make it more manageable.

1. Take a Tour

It always helps to be familiar with the NICU before you and your baby are there for a stay. Take a tour of the facility and ask as many questions as you have. During your tour at Cardinal Glennon we will walk you through the NICU, show you some of the patient rooms and explain some of the common equipment used. We will also give you a special resource guide to help you throughout your stay. You and your family will have the chance to ask any questions you have. Click here to take a virtual tour of the Dana Brown NICU. 

2. Prepare Before Your Baby Arrives

You can prepare for your upcoming NICU stay. At the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute we recommend that you find a special small blanket to have for your baby. A few weeks before your little one arrives sleep with the small blanket. This special blanket will hold your scent and can go with your baby when he or she is transported to the NICU.

Get a bag together with items you may need in your baby’s NICU room. Since every baby at the Dana Brown NICU at Cardinal Glennon has a private room, we encourage our families to bring personal photos and belongings to make your baby’s NICU room as comfortable as possible. Make sure you have a notebook where you can write down information you learn from the doctors and nurses, along with tracking information regarding your baby’s health.

Many of our moms have said it is helpful to have a camera, extra cell phone charger, and reading material or something else to help pass the time. We have free Wi-fi if you need internet access. Keeping our NICU environment quiet and nurturing is important, so please bring earphones if you plan on listening to music. Showers and linens are also available, so you may want to bring some toiletries.

Learn about your baby’s condition. Knowing as much as you can about what’s ahead will help make the situation easier. The St. Louis Fetal Care Institute is committed to helping you learn.

3. Ask Questions

Having a baby in the NICU can feel like an out of control situation. You are your baby’s parent and best advocate. If you have a question ask. If you don’t quite understand the answer you are given, ask for clarification. It’s okay to ask, and the more you know the more involved you can be in the care of your little one. We are all on the same team for your baby. Physician team rounding is everyday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parents are encouraged to participate in team rounding. This is a great time to talk with your baby’s caregivers about questions, concerns, and future plans. You are welcome in the NICU 24-7 and can call anytime.

4. Get Involved

Step in and get involved with the care of your baby. Ask how you can assist with feedings. The nurses and lactation consultants can help you with breastfeeding your baby during your stay in the NICU. Help change diapers, ask how you can help with baths, and inquire about cuddle time. No one can fault you for asking to help care for your baby.

5. Take A Break

It’s okay to take a break; it will actually make you a better parent. Take a quick walk outside, get some fresh air, and grab a cup of coffee. Just a few minutes away from the beeping machines, nurses and doctors will help you feel refreshed and more alert. It is also important for you to get sleep while your baby is staying in the NICU. No one will fault you for leaving to get some rest.

Helpful Links:

SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center Dana Brown NICU

Kids Health: When Your Baby Is In The NICU


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