FAQ - Our NICU Experience

Thursday, January 22, 2015

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Since bringing Dayton home from the hospital we have received questions from people who are curious about our experience in the NICU. Please know, while I welcome most questions & share a lot about our experience, not everyone's journey is the same and no two NICU's operate the same. What I share, is based on our own experience. That being said, since most of the questions we receive are the same (or similar), I wanted to share the most frequently asked questions we get regarding our NICU experience.

Were you able to visit Dayton anytime you wanted?
Yes, we are pretty much able to spend as much time at the hospital as we wanted. Throughout the day there were a couple 1 hour periods that we are not able to be inside the NICU while the nurses did shift change. Also, when Dayton had certain tests done (ultrasounds, x-rays, etc) we were asked not to be in his room.

Did you have to wear a mask, gloves and gown when you were in the NICU?
All visitors were required to wash their hands before entering & wear hospital gown while in NICU . We were not required to wear a mask or gloves. In our situation, while Dayton was on contact isolation for a few days (while we awaited the results of some of his viral tests) we had to wear a paper surgical gown over the hospital gown. As soon as the tests came back negative, we no longer had to wear them.

Were you able to hold & care for Dayton?
Yes, our NICU  allowed us to be as involved in his care as we wanted. We were able to bathe him, change his diaper, take his temperature, dress him and hold him. While he was still being fed through a feeding tube, we obviously were not able to help with that, but as soon as he started eating by bottle, we will be able to feed him. Most of the care we were able to provide was dependent on our confidence and desires to be involved and of course, Dayton's medical status.

Did you provide breast milk for for Dayton?
I really don't like talking too much about his, but because it is the number 1 question I am asked I figured I would briefly touch on it. Yes, I pumped every 2-3 hours (his feeding schedule) and took breast milk to the NICU for Dayton to receive through his feeding tube. They added human milk fortifier to make the milk higher in calories. Towards the end of his stay, when he began bottle feeding, we did have to begin supplementing with formula.

How many people were able to see Dayton?
Every NICU is different, but our's allowed the baby's mom & dad and four additional people to be listed as "approved visitors". Unfortunately, once the list is made, it could not be changed for the duration Dayton's stay. While Dayton was in NICU III, only two people could visit at a time. When he was moved to NICU II (IMNICU) he was allowed to have three visitors at a time.

Were you able to dress Dayton in his own clothes?
No, our NICU did not allow us to bring clothes in until the he is being discharged. During the his stay, when appropriate, the NICU provided clothing and we were able to dress him.

What Dayton in a private room?
In our NICU, two babies were in each room. There was a good amount of time that Dayton did not have a "roommate", however this was when he was under contact isolation and in between admissions. There was a brief period of time that Dayton shared a room with 2 other babies due to the need for additional space.

Were there babies' much more sick than Dayton, in the NICU with him?
There were absolutely babies that were much, much more sick and critical than Dayton but there were also babies that were much healthier than he was, too. We witnessed other families have to say good-bye to their sweet babies but we also witnessed  families come in and be discharged home within just a few days. There is certainly a wide range of level of care in the NICU.

Did Dayton have one doctor or nurse that handled all of his care?
While his care was overseen by one of three neonatoligist, Dayton was seen by many, MANY, professionals. Aside from the amazing RN's, he was seem by nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, vitreoretinal specialists, countless radiological & x-ray techs and a social worker.

What were the requirements for taking him home?
First, let me say that every baby and every NICU is different. In our situation, Dayton was required to regulate his own body temperature outside of an isolette, maintain his heart rate, maintain his respiratory & blood oxygen levels, breathe totally unassisted, be infection & virus free, take all of his feedings by bottle & be able to sit in his car seat for 1.5 hours with no issue. We also had to attend a discharge education class.


  1. Thank you for sharing your experience with the outside world. I can't imagine all that you had to go through, but your blog gives me a little glimpse. Thank you for being so open. Dayton is a cutie!

    1. Katie! thank you so much for following along. I look forward to following you & your sweet Landon!!


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