University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
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Being a parent in PICU

Remember that for your child you are the most important person of the team. No one else could offer your child the comfort of his or her own family. Even if your child is asleep, or unable to move because of the tubes and machines, there are still ways to fulfil your role as a parent.

Your child will gain much comfort from the touch of your hand, the sound of your voice and the familiar ways that you help him/her through fear and pain. Children who are asleep feel the comfort of a loving presence.

With newborns, being in PICU interferes with those precious early days when you get to know your child. It is important to find ways to introduce yourself to your baby. Did you know that babies learn to recognise voices first? Your voice will be the one constant for your baby.

Taking care of yourself

You may be here for a very short time or for a very long time. In the event that this is a long time, try to pace yourself. It is important for your child's wellbeing that you take care of yourself. Here are some things that you can do:

  • take walks occasionally
  • eat nourishing meals
  • try to get at least a few hours rest each day
  • take a break with a friend who is a good listener
  • remember people outside the hospital are anxious to help
  • if you are breast-feeding or plan to breast feed your baby, information is available for you from your child's nurse. It is also possible to arrange for you to be seen by the infant feeding specialist.