VI. After the NICU

Giving birth, spending time in the NICU, and bringing home a new baby are all tiring. You’ve had so many things to adjust to and learn about. 

It can be hard to get used to being at home with your baby after a long NICU stay. If you have questions, you can always call your baby’s provider. And you can ask family members, friends and neighbors for help. You also may find it helpful to get support from other families who have had a baby in the NICU. Visit shareyourstory.org to connect with other families who have made the move from the NICU to home.

If you have other children, talk to them about what it will be like with the new baby before you bring your baby home. It’s normal for children to feel jealousy, anger, guilt and worry while their brother or sister is in the NICU. Your children’s response to the baby depends on their age. Make them part of the homecoming celebration. If they’re old enough, let them help you take care of the baby.

Common thoughts and feelings of NICU parents after leaving the hospital include:

  • I am scared that my baby will get sick again.
  • I am nervous to go out in public with my baby.
  • I am lonely now that we’re at home.
  • I am nervous about other people taking care of my baby.
  • No one seems to understand how hard this has been for us.
  • I am a different person after our NICU stay, and I miss my old life.
  • I feel guilty and sad because my baby was in the NICU.

It’s OK to have these thoughts and feelings. Many NICU parents do. Keep in mind that each day you learn more about your baby. It’s a journey for your whole family.