Having a baby in the NICU is probably not what was expected when you first found out you were pregnant. Many parents are worried that they will be unable to bond with their child because of the NICU experience. It is important to remember that bonding is a process. Parents of gastroschisis infants cannot always hold their baby right away, but should be reassured that they can still bond with their baby. Additionally, breastfeeding is not possible until the intestines are functioning properly but once the baby is able to eat, this is important as well. In the meantime, skin to skin contact can help both you and your baby bond by regulating breathing and reducing stress.41 Visit your baby regularly, talk to him/her, and consider playing music near your baby’s bedside to provide comfort when you are not present.
NOTE: There is currently a clinical trial studying the effectiveness of music therapy on gastroschisis infants. 42
Remember to celebrate milestones…just because some of your baby’s “firsts” take place in the hospital, doesn’t mean that these moments are any less important.43[See image of a gastroschisis infant celebrating her first Halloween in the NICU.44]
For more ideas, see our Shower Insert and Comfort Pamphlet on the Assets page.
44. IMAGE: gastroschisis baby Ashley celebrating her first Halloween in the NICU. She was a lamb, because the NICU care team gave her a stuffed lamb at her bedside upon admission.