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

NICU Survival Tip #2

My NICU Survival Tip #2 is something that I didn’t really do myself during the 94 days my girl was in the NICU, but I wish that I would have.

I left my home and stayed with family near my preemie’s NICU during her stay, and I spent all day every day in the NICU with her.  I sat by her side, went to pump, sat by her side, went to pump, ate lunch in the cafeteria, sat by her side, went to pump, sat by her side, etc….  Every moment that I wasn’t with her I felt guilty.  I wanted to be with her every moment, but after awhile I started to wear down.  I was almost constantly stressed, worried, or lonely, but I kept at it, day after day, giving 110% to my preemie.

Thus NICU Survival Tip #2:  Take a break for yourself every day, even if it’s only 30 mins.  You can go outside the hospital and take a walk in the fresh air, find a quiet corner or visitor’s lounge and read a novel, browse the gift shop, visit stores, parks, or theaters near the hospital.  Decide that it’s okay to leave your baby when she is asleep and go find something fun to do.

I’m positive that if I had taken a little more time for myself and tried to do things that were purely for fun and entertainment now and then, I would have felt just a little bit lighter on my feet and I would have had more to talk to my preemie about! 🙂

Related Posts:  NICU Survival Tip #1

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. Stacey Roberts says:

    That is really great advice. Like you, I lived at the NICU. We live 170 miles away from the hospital and my husband and family relied on me for information. I didn’t have a vehicle for the first month so I couldn’t leave the premises of the hospital grounds. I literally felt like I was going to loose my mind. It is so good to make yourself walk outside and feel the sunshine on your face! After the first month, they put us in a room together. I thought this would be a good thing, but it turned out that I was responsible for ALL of my babies care and I wasn’t prepared. Being completely exhausted and mentally drained caused more problems when having to tend to buzzers and bells 24/7. They finally had more room in the NICU and took Dawson back…Then I felt guilty. The best thing that anyone ever did for me was to come get me and take me out to lunch AWAY from the hospital! Gotta take care of yourself…but it is truly hard

  2. 1. I love that picture! 2. I was very blessed to have delivered at the hospital where my baby stayed and it was only about 30minutes from my house. That gave me the freedom to come and go without it being a big “todo”. When she got bigger, she was actually moved to the Special Care Nursery at a smaller hospital that was only 6 miles from my house. That was a HUGE blessing for us all. But even with her being so close, I too felt the need to be there at all times. My husband was a great support and reminded me that if I didn’t take care of my self, I would be no help to her. It was also so comforting to realize that she was in God’s hands. He created her in my womb, and was still helping her grow big and strong 🙂

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