Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Companioning
If you have found me because your baby is currently in the NICU, or you know that you baby will require care in the NICU after birth, I am sorry that you are going through such an unexpected and difficult time. Please know you are not alone. Every family’s NICU journey is unique, there is no right way to feel or behave, and every baby follows their own path. You, your baby and your family matter during this difficult time.
Caring for you premature or sick baby in the NICU, or planning for your baby’s future care in the NICU, is an overwhelming and challenging start to your parenting journey. I am here to validate you, to listen to what you need, and to support you. I believe you and your baby are worthy of a positive NICU experience, despite the many challenges you will face.
Finding your feet, your voice and building the confidence to care for, and to advocate for your baby in the NICU may feel overwhelming, but you have the strength within you. I am here to support you to find your power and confidence as your baby’s parent and nurturer, so you can lay strong and healthy foundations for your baby and your family.
As a NICU companion, there are so many ways in which I can provide you with informational, physical, emotional and advocate support during your time in the NICU. Support can be offered in person or virtually.
How I Can Support You
- Recognizing trauma responses and how these may impact your ability to process information, feel safe in the NICU environment, interact with and bond with your baby, make informed decisions about your baby’s care and advocate on behalf of your baby.
- Strategies to minimize your response to stress, so you can take care of your own health and needs, to be able to care for your baby.
- Slowing things down, listening to what you need and holding space for all of your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
- Incorporating your belief systems about healthcare or any cultural or religious practices into your expectations of care for your baby.
- Ensuring you have the information you need to make informed decisions about your baby’s care.
- Exploring your baby’s care options and supporting your informed decision making in collaboration with your baby’s medical team.
- Supporting the needs of your partner and other significant people in your life as they navigate their own feelings and experience of your baby being in the NICU.
- If a NICU stay is predicted for you baby, support to tour the NICU, to plan your birth (with in person birth support if desired) and to support your, and your baby’s transition into the NICU environment.
- Ensuring your postpartum needs are met.
- Support to familiarise yourself with the NICU environment and the medical equipment being used to care for you baby.
- Ensuring you understand your baby’s medical needs, their care plan and the medical language being used by your baby’s medical team.
- Support to build and establish a daily visiting routine, addressing any barriers or fears that may impact your ability to visit and care for your baby in the NICU.
- Advocacy communication support during your baby’s medical rounds or meetings with your baby’s medical team.
- Support to explore your baby’s feeding options and to become confident in feeding your baby in collaboration with your baby’s care team and feeding specialist.
- Support to build your confidence in bonding with your baby using a sensory approach, and to have skin to skin time with your baby.
- Ideas to personalize your baby’s NICU environment and to make memories of your baby’s time in the NICU.
- Support to build your confidence in carrying out your baby’s “cares” in collaboration with your baby’s care team e.g. changing diapers, changing their clothing or linen in their isolette etc.
- Linking you with resources and services in your community or virtually that you identify you need to meet your emotional and educational needs as you navigate your baby’s NICU stay e.g. NICU organizations, peer support, mental health or counselling.
- Support as you prepare for you baby’s transition home in collaboration with your baby’s care team.
- A listening session to enable you to debrief your NICU experience without retraumatization.
- The 3 Step REWIND Programme to enable you to process any trauma that may be persisting and impacting your life after your NICU experience.
The NICU Nook Essential Course
I am pleased to work in community with the NICU Nook to support your NICU journey through their Essential NICU Nook Course. To learn more, click their website logo for full details of their online course, which will offer you a wealth of informational videos to guide you from Day 1 in the NICU, all the way through to taking your baby home, and life beyond. You can sign up for the course via the my affiliate link below!
My NICU Companioning Fees
My support during your baby’s NICU journey is charged at an hourly rate. Support can be in person or virtual. In alignment with my sliding scale, I offer 3 hourly rates:
Full price rate – $45 per hour
Middle price rate – $30 per hour
Lowest price rate – $15 per hour
Additional travel costs are charged per mile for in person NICU support out with Hillsborough County. Mileage is charged at 65.5 cents per mile.
Please see “My Companioning Fees” for more information. My NICU support can be combined within my birth companion package if required. Please do not hesitate to chat with me about any financial difficulty you may be facing in accessing my NICU companioning support, there is always a way forward!