In my last post, I wrote and you lovely readers responded about some things you can expect if the unthinkable happens and your baby needs a visit to the NICU. Today I’d like to share some ways to support a mom who has a baby in the NICU.
When Judah was in the NICU, I know that things would have been much harder, much more stressful, and much more exhausting if I had not had the support from friends and family that I received. Here are some things that truly helped me.
1. Text. This sounds silly but seriously, a simple text that can be answered during a down minute is much better than trying to field and return phone calls (for most of us moms this is true even what baby is NOT in the NICU).
2. Offer to coordinate meals. Food Tidings is one of my favorite sites and allows someone to quickly create a meal schedule to help out a family in need. A link to the schedule can be shared on their facebook wall or through email allowing friends and family to sign up. Super easy.
3. Ask for specific needs or ask to coordinate things that she needs done. This was so key for me. I had a million things to be done and had one person volunteer to coordinate it all. It really helped me be able to focus on the baby and my kids at home without having to think of who to call for help. My “coordinator” sent people to clean my house, grocery shop, do laundry, help watch kids so I could sleep or go to the NICU and much more. It was such an amazing help.
4. If you’re running to the store, find out if they have any needs. This was mentioned in #3 and it was a HUGE help for me. Also, one of my girls had major dietary restrictions and I had a couple friends bake foods just for her so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. Find out if there are any things like that that can be done.
5. Be specific. Blanket “if you need anything…call me…” statements are good, but in the chaos of the days, really offered little help. I was most blessed by friends and family who took the lead and offered to do specific things.
6. Offer support and love without platitudes. As I said in my last post, the NICU is super emotional. Saying things like “baby will be home before you know it” was never received as a comfort – mainly because you don’t know when baby is coming home and in some cases…if baby comes home.
One thing is for sure, any support you offer a mom who has a baby in the NICU is appreciated. From the small and minute to the extravagant and time consuming, NICU moms need all the support they can get.