It can be very stressful having a baby in the NICU. During this time, it is helpful to include siblings as much as possible; to explain in simple terms what is happening with your new baby; to reassure them that they have not caused the baby to be early, sick, or small; and to remind them that they are not the source of your current worries. Most of all, you should reserve special time just for them, and remind them daily of your constant and unconditional love. More than ever, they need to feel secure, valued, safe, and loved by you and others.
Platypus Media is proud to offer a number of NICU sibling support resources. We hope these will be meaningful and useful for families experiencing the difficulty of having a child in the NICU.
Resources for NICU Families
The Come Home Soon coloring book series (available for baby boys and girls, in both English and Spanish) will help you guide your children to an understanding of why their baby sister or brother is in the NICU, and what they can do to help.
Here is a list of other NICU sibling support resources:
Hand to Hold sibling support webpage (www.HandToHold.org) offers sample activity pages and NICU video tour.
No Bigger than My Teddy Bear by Valerie Pankow describes the NICU experience through the eyes of a new big brother.
My Brother is a Preemie/My Sister is a Preemie: A Children’s Guide to the NICU Experience by Abraham R. Chuzzlewit & Dr. Jos. A. Vitterito II gives a child-friendly introduction to the NICU.
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst reassures children that even when loved ones are apart, they are always in each other’s hearts.
Keep reading for a list of organizations that help preemie families...
Human Milk Banking Association of North American provides information and resources on donor milk banking for parents and health care providers. It also sets safety guidelines for all non-profit mothers' milk banks in North America.
Managing the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is an article from the Loyola University of New Orleans' online nursing resource center. A great resource for students, professionals, and even parents of babies in the NICU.
Ronald McDonald House serves as a home away from home for families with children receiving medical treatment. Families can do laundry, eat freshly cooked meals, sleep in private rooms, and gain/give support with other families.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid Programs provide financial assistance for NICU medical expenses. Eligibility for assistance is determined by a baby's birth weight rather than an income. You must apply for these programs shortly after your baby is born. Ask your social worker or care manager for assistance.
WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) provides nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care for women, infants, and children up to 5 years. Even if you have been denied Medicaid due to financial reasons, you might still qualify for WIC.