Lessons on how to take care of a NICU Baby

NICU Baby? Lessons on how to take care of a baby in NICU? What to do for your grandchild and how to do it properly? These questions and more are all answered by the NICU nursing staff.

Listen to their instructions so that when the baby comes home, you will be prepared to help Mom and Dad.

Grandmother  in NICU

Sleep my Grandson!

Take time

  • to whisper love messages
  • or sing to your grandchild
  • and notice how they respond.

Amazingly, you may even see a first grin while still in NICU!

Floral arrangement

Plants should be delivered to the home since NICU doesn't allow plants!

Mommy in NICU

A NICU Baby is very special usually a preemie or a baby born with a birth issue that requires specialized treatment and care from a variety of doctors and specialists.

After you have cleared the check in process at the desk and followed the hand washing procedures as explained in Welcome to NICU, you check in with the NICU nurse.

I hope you will enjoy this YouTube video on "32 week Preemie Samuel's Month in NICU and Year." Our twin grandsons were born at 33 weeks, however, both weighed much less than Samuel. Most of the same challenges that are described in Samuel's video were experienced by my grandsons. In fact, Baby B was in the NICU for almost 6 weeks.

Please understand that all children born with these issues must struggle and all become fighters to just live! Thankfully, our grandchildren both lived through this experience!

Viewing this video brought back so many memories and is so important in sharing a unique NICU experience.

NICU Baby: So let's begin the process...

NICU Guidelines to Follow

Remember that the NICU Baby will have a specific time for feeding throughout the day and you need to report 15 minutes early before those times to change diapers, clothes, and wrap in a warm blanket. The nurses will let you know if your hospital times are different.

Hand Sanitizer

These specific guidelines are followed each time you enter the NICU pod. 

  • Grab a blanket out of the warmer and take it to the baby’s poddet.
  • Remember don't touch anything that might have germs on it. You will need to always use a hand sanitizer before you touch the baby.
  • In the pod, you will find a cart with disposable diapers, wipes, creams, and clothes that the parent has provided for the baby to wear. This is usually a t-shirt or open front shirt. Remember, wires and tubes will have to go through the arm holes.

With twin boys, there was always an extra baby to love, feed and diaper.

With twin boys, there was always an extra baby to love, feed and diaper. If my son-in-law was at work, either my husband or I would help our daughter during the day with this process.

  • There were specific procedures followed each time we went into the podette to take care of our NICU twins.
  • Remember to be careful of the wires and tubing that are attached.
NICU Warming Beds
NICU Breathing
  • NICU nurses will assist you whenever you are in the pod.
  • Remember to lay your grandchild in your lap so he can see you during this special time.

NICU Nurses are the Best!

Special Treatment in NICU

NICU Staff

At first I would ask the NICU nurse to assist with the wiring and tubes, but if your NICU Baby is there for longer than a week, you're confidence grows and you are able to do these procedures by yourself.

Remember, these babies are so tiny and appear fragile, but they are stronger than we think!

So now is the time to ask those specific questions you may have of the professional staff. They are so helpful and informative about your grandchild!

NICU Nurse

A special time during the NICU stay is when the baby is feeling better and nearing time to go home.

Nurses will ask you to bring in your baby book and they will imprint feet and hand prints on pages.

You will look back in years to come and be amazed at how tiny your grandchildren were at birth!

Proceed with the feeding of the NICU Baby

NICU nurses suggestions

Grandparents with grandchild

So below are the guidelines that the NICU nurses suggested before feeding.

Remember you can do this.

Although you may be concerned at first, you will become confident and understand that you will grasp these methods.

  • Open incubator and move wires and tubes
  • Remove top and dress the baby
  • Change the diaper
  • Throw diaper away in designated area
  • Reuse hand sanitizer before touching baby
  • Swaddle NICU Baby in warm blanket
  • Take NICU baby out carefully
  • Set down in nearest chair
  • Pull privacy curtain during bottle feeding (Mom's nursing) or when you want special times with your grandbaby!

Take a moment and be thankful you made it through that initial process. Use the Boppy that is in the unit (Mom brought from home). The nurse will give you the bottle that you will use to feed the baby. Mom is still pumping to get her milk started but the colostrum is very good for the NICU Babies or any baby. Mom will continue to pump while in the hospital and at home until her breast milk is established and the babies are able to breast feed. Or in my daughter's case, she continue to pump and bottle fed her babies.

NICU-Nana-ready to-hold-with Boppy

This is Nana's first time to visit the twins in NICU.   She is so excited and will use the Boppy to help steady the babies in her lap.

The first picture below is of the tiny caps that the boys had to wear throughout their stay while in the NICU.

If you will notice there are two small packages with a gold duck and bear inside. These sticky tabs were used to hold the wires in place on the babies chest.

Also, the smallest of diapers was used on our grandbabies.

NICU Items
Diaper Sizes

In the next picture, I decided to compare the diapers of a preemie and size 4 diapers that my grandchildren are now wearing at their first birthday! Wow!

Amazing growth in 12 months!

New Technique for Holding and Feeding the NICU Baby

Holding and feeding your Grandchild

A NICU Baby or preemies are held outward with his head turned to the side. (No close in the arm feeding.) This technique is called "side lying" for holding and feeding. This allows the baby to eat and breathe properly and allow you to view if the baby begins to choke. You also can admire your beautiful grandchild during the feeding! Does he have your ears or pretty eyes? Remember, most babies are born with blue eyes and these can change up to six months.

NICU Bottle

If the baby has difficulty latching on to the bottle, help it by moving the bottle into the baby's mouth in the corner. The baby should drink a portion of the bottle, then burp the baby by gently patting the baby's back. Our nurses continually reminded us of the importance of burping the babies which would reduce reflux and gas issues while the baby was laying in bed. Continue feeding and burp again. Hold your baby securely until the baby is finished eating.

The nurse will assist you in returning the NICU Baby or newborn to the warming bed until you become comfortable enough to do it yourself--that time will come before your grandchild leaves the NICU!

Attached below is a YouTube video on the "Side Lying Bottle Feeding of The Premature Infant" that will make it easier for the grandparents to see the procedure that most NICU's have you use.

NICU Awareness

As you become aware of the NICU, you will have specific questions that you need answered.   The NICU Staff will be very informative. 

Welcome to NICU


Grandparents Need to Know

Side Lying Bottle Feeding




Find more grandparenting ideas online at our Home Page Grandparenting Essentials 

Return from NICU Baby to NICU Experiences

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