Expert NICU Tips: Navigating the Journey with Your Newborn

Having a baby in the NICU is a heart-wrenching and exhausting experience that no family anticipates when they discover they have a little one on the way.

Having a baby in the NICU is a heart-wrenching and exhausting experience that no family
anticipates when they discover they have a little one on the way. Typical expectations and
milestones must change, but we have the expertise to help you navigate your baby’s NICU stay
and the physical and emotional stress that can come with it.

We will learn to reframe expectations.

Typical firsts and baby milestones will look different. The first feeding might be a bottle, or it might be through a feeding tube. And sometimes, when they’re very premature, it might be a drop of milk swabbed around inside the baby’s mouth. The first time you hold them might be skin to skin on your chest or your hands through the holes of the isolette gently containing their head and feet. Then there’s being able to breathe without an endotracheal tube or nasal cannula, moving from an isolette to a crib, removing a feeding tube and taking every feed from a bottle, gaining an ounce, and so many more firsts.

These early milestones may look different than expected, but they are exciting and powerful and deserve to be celebrated big!

Ask how you can be involved in your baby’s care.

First, participate in patient rounds. Find out what time the team of providers makes rounds so you can know about everything going on with your baby, ask any questions you have, and share your concerns. Second, depending on your baby’s current condition, you can participate in their physical care in many ways. Your nurses will happily educate you on feeding techniques, taking temperatures, changing diapers, and kangaroo care (skin-to-skin contact) while navigating all the wires, feeding tubes, monitors, and more. The NICU can feel overwhelming and like you’ve lost your role as the parent. Being involved in the day-to-day care and decision-making process is a way to regain control. Your baby’s care team loves to see you involved and knowledgeable, and you can be a great advocate for your baby throughout their stay.

Don’t camp out in the hospital 24/7.

One of the best ways to take care of your baby is to bring the healthiest version of you back to them so that you have the energy and mental clarity you need. Once you’re discharged from postpartum, make time to go home, eat nourishing meals, shower, and sleep in your own bed. Do something for yourself and spend time with loved ones. This isn’t a selfish decision- it’s necessary to ground yourself outside hospital life. Don’t worry. Your little one has a world-class team caring for them while you step away!

Personalize your baby’s space in the NICU.

If your NICU’s policies allow it, bring sheets, blankets, photos, and clothes from home to make your baby’s space feel more cozy. Many moms pin a small piece of fabric inside their shirt all day and then leave it inside the baby’s isolette so that your baby has mom’s scent nearby- some moms even place a few drops of breastmilk on it. A sweet way for your baby to feel your presence when you can’t be there. And speaking of breastmilk…

Take advantage of lactation support.

Request time with the team of lactation consultants that make rounds to NICU parents. And use that powerful hospital-grade breast pump! Most units will allow you to pump right at the bedside. Even if your baby isn’t developmentally ready to latch, your liquid gold can be given to them through a feeding tube or frozen until it’s ready for use.

Find your support and accept help.

No one anticipates a NICU journey when they find out they’re pregnant- it’s healthy and necessary to process the change and grief that come along with this experience. Fear, sadness, love, overwhelm, anger, guilt, helplessness, and more. Talk about your feelings to your family, friends, nurses, fellow NICU parents, a therapist, a support group, journal it, or whatever would be most helpful and available to you. (Also, don’t underestimate the power of a good cry). Say YES to loved ones who offer to cook meals, send gift cards, transport you to the hospital and back, help with your other children or pets, clean
your house, and more.

Make a list.

Make a list of things you would like to bring along for the days spent at the bedside. Comfy layers to wear
in the unit that provide easy access for kangaroo care and breastfeeding, if applicable. Water,
chapstick, something to read, pumping bra, blanket, snacks, chargers, favorite snacks, nursing
pillow, just to name a few.

Prepare for the transition home from the NICU.

Some babies go home from the NICU with oxygen needs, feeding tubes, and/or physical and occupational therapy requirements. It can feel overwhelming to imagine managing those at home without your trusted hospital team there to help or oversee. Consider adding a Moms on Call Consultant to your personal care team as you navigate another big transition! We can help customize daily schedules around therapy times, provide bottle and breastfeeding tips, advise on toddler siblings’ behavior and sleep as they are making this transition, and answer any other questions and concerns.

A NICU stay is an emotional and physical rollercoaster of triumphs and setbacks. Process your
grief, show yourself grace, be as involved as possible in baby’s care but make plenty of time to
be good to yourself as well (this is vital!), utilize every support available to you, and most of all-
find moments of joy in this difficult season. Whether your NICU stay is 2 or 20, or 200 days, you
and your little warrior will walk out transformed with powerful new strength, wisdom, and a sense of thankfulness as you understand what really matters in life. Be on the lookout- daily miracles are happening around you in the NICU. Deep breath and keep that head up. You’re never alone in this journey.

Written by:

Kaycee Rountree is a Certified Pediatric Nurse and certified Moms on Call Infant and Toddler Consultant. She is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her husband and three incredibly fun and active children!

The Moms on Call methodology is what guided her through the season of growing her family by three babes in three years. Now it is her passion as a registered nurse and MOC consultant to support and encourage other families to be confident in their parenting decisions amid infant and toddler chaos. 

“Whatever the age or stage, I will work with you to develop a personalized approach, creating the best feeding and sleeping foundation for your little one. I can’t wait to support and empower you in your parenting adventure!”

Read More

Moms on Call’s Guide to Postpartum Care

Moms on Call’s Guide to Postpartum Care

From one mom to another, we’ve put together a checklist of must-have items to have ready at home and after-delivery care essentials. Guide to Perinatal & Postpartum Care Peri or squirt bottle Used to rinse off the perineal before and after urinating as the area heals Ice packs Often the hospital will send you home with a few extras if you ask for those first few days home Have some soft ice packs ready in the freezer for when you run out Witch hazel pads  Used to prevent postpartum hemorrhoids and help with perineal pain Maxi pads  Until postpartum bleeding lets up, these will come in handy. Stock up for at least 2-3 weeks Large cotton undies  Sitz bath  Designed to help with postpartum pain Acetaminophen Will help with overall aches, and pain and is safe while breastfeeding. Stool softener & fiber Fill up on fiber to prevent constipation and stool softeners, to get things going, if needed Check-in with your doctor Our emotions are high and easily go from up to down. Check in and be truthful with your doctor to be sure you are receiving all the care you need! Read our blog post, More Than the Baby Blues, to help you know what’s normal and when it may be time to reach out. Nursing  Nursing bras  Invest in a few comfy nursing bras that fit you well. Size up from your original size to give your new growing breast room and comfort Have a few on hand, as these get soaked pretty regularly Nursing pads Reusable or disposable  Have these on hand for in-between nursing. Your breast will leak when the baby cries Nipple cream  Breast pump or breast pump order/Rx (Set this up ahead of time with your insurance carrier; most are provided for free.) Miscellaneous Items for the Home Paper plates and plastic silverware  Stocking up on these seems silly, but the last thing you’ll want to do is a mountain of dishes along with sanitizing bottles.  Frozen homemade meals  This will surely come in handy! During your pregnancy, cook a few of your favorite freezable meals OR ask friends and family to drop off frozen homemade meals! Nothing better than Grandma’s Lasagna! also provides a great an easy way to organize meals for friends after birth, surgery, or illness. Your postpartum care is so important! We all get wrapped up in the excitement of baby, we tend to forget about ourselves. From moms who have been there a time or two (or more), learn how to take care of you and your body! The better you are taken care of, the more energy and love you will have to share with that beautiful baby you have created.  Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with all of our content! Visit to check out all of the resources we have to offer.
Read more
Postpartum To Do’s

Postpartum To Do’s

You have planned, dreamed and waited for this day! It’s finally time to bring home baby. And now that you’ve had your little one, what’s next? For that little one They are adjusting to new smells, new sounds and this whole digestive thing! Baby is feeding every 2-3 hours, swaddled well and you’ve prepared by creating the ideal sleep environment with the right sound machine which will help as they transition to this new world. For Moms and Dads You are both having to navigate emotional ups and downs. These new emotions are incredible and sometimes so hard to understand! You will both find yourselves laughing one minute and crying the next! Dads Expect a new “normal”.  You will be doing things that you may not have ever done before. Give yourself time and be patient as you find this new routine as “Dad”. Check out our post with David Feldman, as he discusses how becoming a father rewired his brain!Take over some of those middle-of-night diaper changes.During the day let Mom nap while you take care of the baby.Bring her snacks and water while she feeds.You may have to do grocery runs, cook meals and make sure the laundry gets swapped to the dryer.Moms on Call Consultant, Katherine Bridges, wrote To Dad, Love Mom: How to Support Me Before & After Baby Arrives to bring new dads some encouragement and ideas! Parenthood is an on-the-job training and you do not have to be qualified to start! You will get through the day to day realities one dirty diaper at a time. Baby blues are expected and normal. Dad, you may experience some blues too! Make sure to talk with your friends/family and seek professional treatment if needed. With Mom, be on the lookout for lack of ability to sleep, bouts of crying, irritability and extreme mood swings. We know that those first few weeks it is normal to have some of these emotions. However, if lasting more than 6-8 weeks or worsening over a few days, encourage her to mention it to her doctor and if needed you may have to seek out the help for her. Bring patience, confidence and a sense of humor! Moms Whether you delivered naturally, with meds, vaginally, c-section or adoption the postpartum period can be tough! Here are a few must-haves: Nursing tankSocks with gripsPeri or squirt bottle Used to rinse off the perineal before and after urinating as the area heals. Postpartum Mesh UnderwearLarge Maxi-Pads (Can also place a few in freezer) Until postpartum bleeding lets up, these will come in handy. Stock up for at least 2-3 weeks. Ice packs Often the hospital will send you home with a few extras if you ask for those first few days home.Have some soft ice packs ready in the freezer for when you run out. Witchhazel pads Used to prevent postpartum hemorrhoids and help with perineal painDermoplast SprayAcetaminophenWill help with overall aches, pain and is safe while breastfeeding.Stool SoftenersAbdominal Binder (C-section)Scar Cream/Oil Massage and Protect your C-section scarLarge cotton undies We prefer high wasted, to help with postpartum pain.Stool softener & fiber Fill up on fiber to prevent constipation and use stool softeners to get things going, if needed. The preparation and the waiting are done. It is normal to be ecstatic and thrilled one moment and crying and overwhelmed the next. Now what!? Get moving!Eat and take in plenty of fluids.Ask for help and accept help.Know the differences between baby blues and post-partum depression. Educate yourself and your loved ones for signs to be watchful of. Licensed therapist, Kate Ferguson, shares about common perinatal mood or anxiety disorders, the symptoms to look for, how to get help and feeling better in her blog post More Than the Baby Blues.Please visit Postpartum Support InternationalOne thing that is helpful is to take some time to connect with each of your senses every day.Be specific and find some things you can see, touch, hear, smell and taste. Pause on each item for 60 seconds.Proper vaginal and c-section care will help the healing process.Check out Moms on Call’s CEO, Morgan Eddy, blog post about her experience with C-Section Preparation and Recovery. Whether you delivered or “received” your special delivery, this is a time of adjustment. Give yourself permission to not have it all together. To be happy, sad, angry, full of joy and despair all within the same minute. But here is the truth: YOU are doing a great job! YOU are exactly who this little one needs and You are enough! You’ve got this!
Read more

We've got a FREE resource ready to send you that is age-appropriate for where your child is right now.

Jennifer and Laura

Parenting with truth and courage

Embrace the journey. You’re not in this alone.
Become a MOC Family, and we'll be your voice of hope as you parent out of truth, grace, and love.

~Laura & Jennifer
Founders Clouds