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

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} 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]

{Professional Insight} Postpartum Depression after a Complicated Delivery

The following post is the second part of a three-part series on PPD and PTSD in NICU parents. Visit part 1 of the series: Postpartum Depression and PTSD in Fathers, and stay tuned for Part 3 in August! We have heard more and more in the news about how common postpartum depression is – affecting about […]

The Night I Met My Son

The night I met my son will forever live in my mind as one of the scariest, loneliest, yet happiest nights of my life.

My wife gave birth to our first child more than 100 days before he was supposed to be born. I wasn’t even mentally prepared to be a dad, even though we planned the pregnancy and had a due date. I just figured I had more time to get ready, but I was wrong. At six o’clock in the evening, I was eating dinner and getting ready to play softball when my wife came home in tears. By 7:33 that night, our son was born. So much happened in those 90 minutes, it is still hard to believe. I experienced fear, anger, anxiety, frustration, sorrow and the thought that I might lose my son and my wife on a hot summer night in which I was supposed to be playing a game instead of contemplating starting my life over. [Read more]

Babywearing Benefits for the Premature Infant

When your baby is born prematurely, it is natural to feel unimaginable stress and helplessness. But if there was something you more you could do to promote the health and wellness of your baby, while greatly easing your emotional stress, you would undoubtedly do it.

A very interesting study in Evolutionary Psychology Journal suggests that human babies are physically made to be held and carried, as opposed to ‘nested’ (i.e. left in the bassinet). “The human infant, when lying on the back, frequently assumes a position where both legs are flexed and abducted.”1 The study goes onto discuss the shape of an infant’s spine is a ‘C’ shape which is conducive to being carried on their caregiver’s front (facing them), as opposed to an adult’s spine which is ‘S’ shaped. It is perfectly natural for babies to be worn and carried; they are physically created to be! [Read more]