5 Things NICU Families Need to Hear From a Clinician

Having a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) can be an emotional and fraught experience for even the most seasoned parents.

And though they can take comfort knowing that their infants are receiving exceptional care in the CHOC Children’s NICU, parents also look to physicians, nurses and other clinicians for reassurance and support.

Here, parents explain what clinicians can say to help them feel more confident and at ease while their child receives care in the NICU.

“Your baby is important and special.”    

I know you treat many babies like mine, or even those sicker, but this is my baby. It’s important to me that you know her name. I’ve waited a long time for her, and everything I envisioned has been      turned upside down.

“Let me explain that again.” 

I realize I’ve asked the same question several times. Please be patient with me: I am learning an  entirely new language and navigating a new world, and I might need to hear something a few times.

“You are not a burden.”     

I’m sorry that I’ve called the nurses station every night and that I’ve asked for you to be paged so many times. I don’t mean to be a nuisance, but I am worried about my baby constantly.

“May I sit with you?”     

You are so busy, but when you take the time to sit with me during rounds, I feel like my baby is your only patient and you really hear my concerns.

“You are doing a great job.”     

I’m trying my hardest to advocate and care for my baby under circumstances I never would have imagined. I’ve been racking my brain to determine what I did wrong or how I could have prevented this situation, and my confidence as a parent is low. I need reassurance.