Apollo Medical Centre, Karapakkam
The Mom and Dad aren’t the only ones who expected to bring a new baby home from the hospital. Siblings have also been prepared for arrival of a baby brother or sister, and often struggle with visiting the newborn in the hospital. There are several things parents can do to prepare their old children for that first visit to the Neonatal Intensive care unit (NICU).
Be as honest as possible with the children, since kids overhear and see more than adults realize. Parents feel the need to protect their other children by not providing a lot of information, but kids’ imaginations can run wild in the absence of facts. Providing the age-appropriate updates on baby’s care can actually help mitigate stress and anxiety when visiting the NICU.
Talk to the siblings about what they will see and hear in the NICU. They may see lots of people, but they’re all there to help the babies. Tell them how the baby will look. Although it’s the quiet area of the hospital, they may hear unexpected noises, like beeps from a monitor or a humming from a ventilator. Remind little ones that these machines and noises are there to help the nurses care for the baby. Before the siblings are allowed in the NICU, they must:
- Wash hands
- Speak in a quiet voice
- Use the gentle touches, if permitted to touch the baby
Kids should also be up-to-date on the vaccinations, and not have a runny nose or any other symptoms of an illness.