Self care in the NICU and beyond

Self care in the NICU and beyond

When your baby is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), it is important to remember to take proper care of yourself so that you will have the energy to take care of your baby. Remember to take it easy and to listen to what your body is telling you.

Pain management

When recovering from a vaginal delivery or caesarean section, it is important to take any pain medication as directed. This medication has been prescribed to you to help you heal and is safe for breastfeeding/pumping mothers.

Sleep/relaxation

Try to catch up on sleep when your baby is sleeping. If you are having difficulty sleeping, try and find things that work for you, such as a warm bath or shower, herbal tea or listening to music. Taking time for relaxation may help decrease stress and anxiety. Relaxation techniques include deep breathing, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation.

Lifestyle and exercise

Allow yourself ‘time out’ each day. Having things in your day that are enjoyable ‘just for you’ may help relieve stress.

A short walk can do wonders for your energy levels and decrease fatigue. Regular gentle exercise such as walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi and dancing can help relieve muscle tension and mental tension. They release endorphins (feel good chemicals) which can help elevate your mood.

Social support

You may need additional support in the first few months. Try to engage support from your family, friends, neighbours, mother’s groups, church group, community centres, maternal child health nurse and your primary healthcare provider.