Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

{Professional Insight} What is NICU Family-Centered Care?

  by Dr. Patrick Hodges I have been caring for newborns and their families in neonatal intensive care units for over 25 years. I have seen incredible advancements, which have had historic impacts on the care and outcomes of these fragile babies. I can say without hesitation, the change, which has had the most profound […]

Bonding with Your Medically Fragile Baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

by Dawn K. Gibson, LCSW

When you initially became pregnant, birthing your baby and having him or her whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) by hospital staff was most likely not in your plan.

Many parents know that bonding after childbirth is important for both parents and baby, and you may have had some ideas about what this meant to you. You might have visualized yourself holding your baby right after the birth, looking into his or her eyes lovingly, or just lying skin-to-skin for a time. No matter what your vision, the reality of birthing a medically fragile infant is typically very different from these images. You may not have been able to hold, let alone touch, your baby right away and you may now be worried that you have lost a major opportunity to bond with your baby. Please know that this is not true. There are many other ways to bond with your baby – even during his or her NICU stay. [Read more]

{Professional Insight} How to Explain Behavioral Therapy to Children and Teens

Sitting in the quiet waiting room just minutes before her therapist came to retrieve her, my 8-year-old turned to me, and with a clarity that always surprises me she asked, “Mom? Why do I come to therapy?”

It’s a hard question for us parents to answer. We want to protect our kids, make them feel safe, encourage their individuality, yet we don’t want to make them feel like they are different from their peers. My daughter is highly sensitive, and the last thing I wanted to do was add to her anxiety or uncertainty. [Read more]

{Professional Insight} The Benefits of Infant Massage

Infant massage cam help parents bond with baby in and out of the NICU. NICU Occupational Therapist Tracey Kondrasuk-Brander gives her tips for successful infant massage. [Read more]

The Misdiagnosis of PTSD in Preemie Parents

Nightmares. Jitteriness. Feeling jumpy. Heart palpitations. Avoiding places that remind you of “that awful time.” What does that sound like? Without any context, to most, that list sounds like symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is something many women who had traumatic pregnancies, deliveries or babies in the NICU are frequently diagnosed with. Despite […]