Once your baby is well enough, it’s good to get involved in their day to day care, whether it’s washing, nappy changing or feeding. You may be able to cuddle your baby for short periods, be assured that they will soon recognise you and your touch and voices. Remember that the doctors and nurses will change with each shift, but you are there solely for your baby – they will some come to know this. Talk to your baby, sing them songs, read them stories. They heard your voice while they were still in the womb and it may bring them comfort now.
Some parents/carers like to place photos of themselves and perhaps the rest of the family in the incubator for their baby to look at. If you haven’t got a camera, ask a member of staff to take a photo with the ward’s camera for you. A small bright toy can also be stimulating for your little one and remind you later of the size of your baby. It’s also believed that ‘smell’ is one of our strongest senses. You could wear a cloth against your skin so that it can be placed in the incubator to comfort your baby. Similarly, take a blanket of theirs home with you so that you can share their scent too.
You may find it easier to adjust to your baby being in the Special Care Baby Unit if you start to build a routine around your visits. Lots of people find comfort in routine: it helps make unusual situations ‘normal’ for us, and it can be the same with Special Care.
Keep a Record
Some families like to take photos of their baby, and some keep a diary for them. It’s sometimes comforting to look back at different milestones and to remember what made you cry one day and laugh the next. You may choose to record the names of those people on the ward who came to mean a lot to you and your family – perhaps they helped you in a special way or provided support in a way you’d like to remember them for. BIBS provides the ward with keep sake boxes for you, please ask a member of staff.
This is precious time between you and your baby that can never be replaced, so whatever each day brings, cherish the time and hold it dear. Your baby needs you and you are there for them. That’s all that matters.