Having an infant in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a stressful experience. Because family members are such valuable members of the baby’s care team, providing support for you and your family is integral to the care for your baby.
Through a partnership with the March of Dimes, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) provides a formal NICU Family Support Program. The program is staffed by support specialists, former NICU parents, who offer support and perspective that only someone who has who have lived through this difficult experience can provide. They know first-hand that having a baby in the NICU can bring out many emotions: fear, frustration, gratitude, hope, and many more. Working closely with the medical team, they help parents navigate the many emotional twists and turns that accompany the NICU journey.
In addition to bedside support, the Family Support Program sponsors and organizes educational events and social interactions for families throughout each month.
Family Events and Activities
Reading at the bedside allows parents the opportunity to bond with their baby. Newborns can recognize and are comforted by the sound of their parents' voices and new research suggests this might enhance brain development. Our NICU team encourages bedside reading both in the NICU and at home, so we give each family a new book to keep.
Parents create a tangible, personal memento of your baby’s NICU journey. For each milestone the baby or parents achieve, they earn a bead. The beads are strung together and make a beautiful, individual bracelet as a keepsake of your newborn’s miraculous start in life.
Having a baby in the NICU can be life changing for siblings. We give big brothers and sisters reading books and coloring books to help them understand their sibling’s unexpected journey.
Parents’ Night Out
Once a month, we offer parents an evening “out” on us, right here in the NICU Family Lounge. Parents truly feel cared for as they reconnect with each other and meet other parents going through the NICU experience.
Several times a month we decorate onesies. Family members and supervised siblings can create a beautiful onesie for their little NICU miracle. The onesies are simple to paint and are beautiful. This activity brings out the artist in all, even the most reluctant painters.