- Talk to your nurse so you can decide the best time to bring siblings to see and spend time with your baby.
- Talk with the baby’s siblings before the visit. Explain to them the hospital rules and some of the things they might see and hear while they are visiting the hospital. Short visits are best (multiply their age by 5 and that’s how many minutes might be good) before it can become too much or they get bored.
- Make an appointment with a Child Life Specialist to meet the sibling(s) before their first visit. Child Life can help explain the NICU, show pictures, or bring real medical equipment for the sibling(s)to learn and explore.
- Ask Child Life for a “Shadow Buddy” to keep. A “Shadow Buddy” is a doll that has the same medical equipment that your baby has. This helps your other children to learn about and cope with the baby medical condition.
- We have books and other things you can use to talk to sibling(s) about why your baby is in the NICU. Child Life is here to give you words and books for your other children that they can understand.
- Ask your Child Life Specialist if the playroom is open for siblings.
- Ask Child Life for items like books, rattles, mobiles and/or sound machines that can help comfort your baby.
- Ask Child Life about projects like handprint molds and canvas prints that can be done with your baby and entire family as memory/keepsake items to take home.
The contents of this webpage, including text, graphics, audio files, and videos (“Materials”), are for your general information only. The Materials are not intended to substitute qualified professional or medical advice, diagnoses, or treatments. CHOC does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, or other information that may be mentioned on or linked to this webpage. Always call your physician or another qualified health provider if you have any questions or problems. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest emergency department, or call 911.
For more health information for your family visit health.choc.org