One mom's NICU ward story is sparking a discussion about how much time parents should spend with their baby in the hospital.
In a Post Mumsnet, user NicuProblem shared that, upon requesting her baby's medical notes, she discovered hospital staff was tracking how often she and her husband visited.
"Requested my baby's medical notes after a premature birth," writes the mother of two (in a post we edited for grammatical reasons). "Found a part where apparently they started a visiting log as they felt we didn't stay on the ward long enough, that I wasn't talkative enough and that my husband 'rarely visited'."
She went on to explain that her first child has special needs and requires a lot of attention, so while knowing the hospital was taking care of her one baby, she tried to split her time to give a little more attention to the child at home who is not of school age. As for her husband, NicuProblem says he began working a different shift as a waiter that made it more difficult to visit more than once a week.
Distraught from the ordeal, the mother turned to the Mumsnet forum to get some advice, which has since started a conversation about the amount of time she spent in the hospital with her newborn. The responses were split down the middle with some offering words of encouragement, while others think she and her husband needed to be more present in the NICU.
Regardless of which side you take, it's not hard to sympathize with the mother. Still, without a response from the hospital, it's difficult to know fully the intention behind the visiting log. Some users suggested it could just be a way to track who is coming and going, which is standard practice in some areas. Yet, others suggested it could be thanks to a lack of presence by the father. Either way, it's an interesting conversation to have — and one that's been discussed for some time.
In fact, in 2010, one user on BabyForum asked new parents how long they typically would spend in the NICU if their child was there, and the results, much like the responses in NicuProblem's post were mixed. Some said they stayed at the hospital from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. while others split their time there and home if they had another child. So in essence, there really isn't a right or wrong answer. It depends on your baby, the child at home, and the resources or support you have around you.
When it comes to the older sibling, however, MayoClinic.org suggests shedding some light on the reason why their new baby brother or sister isn't home yet and why mom and dad have been spending time away. This can help alleviate some jealousy that comes with introducing a new baby to the family. Given the situation this mother was in though, it's hard to tell if her older child would understand why his mother was away so much.
Hopefully, she will be able to put this behind her as soon as her newborn is out of the hospital, and she can start fresh as a proud mother of two!