Well we finally did our tour of the NICU. I put it off for a long time since I needed that time to process. (It was kind of sad. They had something like 7 or 8 rooms full of babies, but I think I only counted 3 families visiting their LOs.)
We are expecting a three day stay for observation of our full term baby, so that our ped cardiologist can sort out the correct dose of baby's medication to regulate his/her heart rate. We had been told by our MFM group that it would not be a problem to stay with our baby continuously and to exclusively breast feed, on demand.
The tour painted a slightly different picture. DH will be allowed to accompany baby to the NICU, but then they give him visitation forms to fill out and encourage him to leave. Luckily I married a stubborn man who will not be bullied. (Not that I am always glad that he can be stubborn, but it will be good for this. ) They also have no visitation from 6:30 to 8:30 am and pm. This is during the shift change and partially due to hippa since it is shared rooms. It is also partially so the nurses can start their shifts w/0 parents around, so "they can do their first checks and get to know the babies." My sis is a nurse and she confirmed that this is a longer than usual amount of time for a shift change. While I respect the hippa side of things, I am less amendable to the other part. I will probably right there so I can be let back in as soon as they are done debriefing the babies in our room.
As for breast feeding on demand. While I've been reassured by all of our drs up to this point that it would be no problem, the tour revealed that they are very pro breast milk, but not so much bfing friendly. I was warned that I may but heads with some of the nurses on this one. (I was also shown where the Nurse Manager's office was located, if this should happen.) I did see a link to a sign a while back that said something like "I am an exclusively breast fed baby, who nurses on demand..." and went on to request that mom be called if baby was hungry and explained that no artificial nipples be used. The no artificial nipples and breast feeding on demand, seemed to be one of the things that we kept going back to and each time we were told that they would try to work with us on it, but there were no guarantees. I also saw only 2 comfy chairs in one room and a couple of straight back chairs in another. I am assuming that I will not be permitted to have food or drink with me, but I intend to check on this with the lactation consultant.
I'm not looking to be difficult, but it is my baby and I do want to ensure that the first few days- weeks that we may be there will go smoothly.
Here are my specific questions:
1) Can anyone direct me to the link for the BFing sign for baby's bed. Also I think there was one for how to care for an intact boy, just in case this baby is a boy.
2) Any and all tips to communicate clearly with the staff and help them to see me as someone they want to help, not someone that is trying to be difficult. (I really am usually a very sweet/cute little mama, so hoping this will not be too hard. )
3) Finally, what should I pack to make my stay in the NICU more comfy. (Frozen pads, change of clothes, nursing pillow, ???)
Thank you for helping us prepare!