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13 Responses to The Emotional Components of Bonding With Preemies

  1. Amy @ Anktangle  

    This is a great list of tips, and I’ll definitely keep it in mind for the future. I went into premature labor with my son, but (thankfully) it was able to be stopped with medications. I remember having lots of fear in the moment about what his early life would be like if he was born sooner than we expected. I’m still grateful that it didn’t play out that way, but I don’t have this fear anymore, because I know it would be OK and that we could all handle it. Thanks for this great post!

  2. Amy  

    What a lovely list of tips – having parenting in the NICU for Abbey’s first month (intestinal surgery, not prematurity), I can remember these emotions well. Great post!

    • Adrienne

      Since writing this, I’ve known three full-term babies who’ve spent time in the NICU. These tips apply to any baby in a special circumstance, not just with preemies!

  3. Dionna  

    Such awesome advice, Adrienne! I remember that feeling of guilt, resentment, and helplessness from having to ask *permission* to do anything with Kieran. I wish I’d had someone to take me by the hand and tell me some of these things!

  4. Julie Keon

    As a prenatal educator and doula,this is a wonderful post for expectant parents and new parents who find themselves in the NICU with their premature baby or any baby for that matter. Well done!
    Julie from http://www.whatiwouldtellyou.com

  5. Hannah  

    I too felt like I was intruding every time I visited the NICU – especially if they were doing a procedure on Hannabert. Great post on how to stay involved.

  6. Our Muddy Boots  

    Though I did not have a preemie, I can understand why remembering that “this is MY baby” could change things.

    Parents of full term babies often do not feel comfortable accepting this until their children are older… or even ever.

    I cannot imagine how trying the time in a NICU is with your baby, and I suspect that the words you wrote today will help another family to remember this more quickly.

    I know these are words I will keep in my mind permanently and have readily available for anyone who might need them.

    Thank you.

  7. Melissa Vose  

    This is a very important post! I appreciate that you remain respectful of necessary medical interventions and hospital staff, yet encourage NICU parents to lay claim to their baby. NICU environments have a long way to go, but you did brilliantly. I love your emphasis on (safe/developmentally appropriate) touch, and on breastmilk feeds. Wonderful, thank you for writing this! I will bookmark it for any friends I have who may encounter the NICU with a preemie. =)

  8. Lauren  

    Wow, that would be so incredibly hard. I know I’d feel the way you describe, tiptoeing around the doctors and nurses and feeling the need to ask permission to parent my child. I’m so glad you were able to get beyond that, and I think that’s incredible advice, to be bold and confident as a parent, to any family enduring a NICU stay. I also hadn’t thought of how it would be to go into the same area of the hospital where so many parents are happily leaving with their healthy newborns. I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

  9. Rachael  

    This post is such a great resource, Adrienne. I especially love the idea that bonding is a process — to be cultivated at any and all stages.

  10. Sylvia@MaMammalia

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have to admit, the feelings that arise just seeing these photos are still too raw that I couldn’t really read this post (sorry). But I’m glad that others will and I admire your strength in writing it!

    As for attachment…I was once asked if my son’s premature birth interfered with our bonding and I responded by saying that in many ways it’s brought us closer. We’ve had to try extra hard and be conscious of our connection. The result has been a very deep attachment, two years in the making 🙂

    • Adrienne

      I completely understand you not being able to read this (yet)! I would be the same way. Even being able to look back at my son’s pictures from the NICU took a lot of time. Thanks for taking the time to comment anyway! And good for you and your son and your extra-strong bond. It’s amazing what hardships can do to strengthen our relationships.

  11. Elena

    Great advice. I remember the nurses having pet names for MY baby, and while it was reassuring in that it was evidence that they did care about her, it also made me feel like she was *theirs*.

    I remember so many times that they would essentially discourage/forbid me from being around her, like when I walked in and saw that she had somehow pulled the IV out of her foot and there was blood everywhere. I very calmly let a nurse know, and she whisked me away as though I couldn’t handle it. There was always a very clear understanding of *who* exactly was in charge, and it wasn’t me.

    I think I could have handled it a lot better if it hadn’t been my first.