NICU Resources


Parenting in the NICU

The NICU is hard. Here are some thoughts to help make it a little easier:

  • Don’t beat yourself up this is NOT your fault.
  • Ask to hold your baby; ask a nurse to assist with safely transferring your baby to you.
  • Ask how you can be involved with your baby. If you are unable to visit as often as you’d like to, check to see if the NICU will give special permission for aunts or uncles to visit. Most NICUs also let grandparents visit without mom or dad present.
  • Go home at night and sleep. You need to take care of yourself, so you can take care of your child to your fullest potential.
  • Build relationships with the nurses so you feel comfortable leaving the hospital and your baby in their care.
  • Call and check in on your little human. You have the right to call your baby’s nurse at any time for an update.
  • Accept help from friends and family.

Here are some additional resources:

Surviving the Return with your NICU Baby

Stay connected to your infant in the NICU when at work.

As difficult as it is you may need to return to work with your baby in the NICU. Here are some ways to stay connected while at work:

  • Know the NICU schedule. When will the doctor or specialist be doing their rounds? Flex your work schedule around these times, or block time out of your calendar to call.
  • If you’re typically the kind of person who works hard and goes above and beyond, now is the time to stop being that person. Stop volunteering for challenging projects with tight deadlines.
  • Set professional boundaries at work. Let your team know if you don’t want them to ask about your baby. Ask your manager to share or send out an email explaining that you want to be able to focus on your job.
  • Talk to your manager about working flexibly. Is it possible to work remotely or on a different schedule while your baby is in the NICU?

Returning to Work as a NICU Parent

Create a plan with HR and your manager for the return.

Parents who have had or still have their infant in the NICU often find the return to work especially challenging. On your first day back, find some time to chat with HR to discuss how you can navigate the challenges ahead. Including the manager in these discussions can improve transparency in the process.

  • How to manage follow-up medical appointments/procedures: Can you work flexibly or remotely on appointment days or from the NICU?
  • Asking for additional time off: Share that you may need to take additional days off work. Ask how you can best navigate this challenge?
  • Professional Boundaries: Clarify what you are comfortable sharing with colleagues. Let your manager inform the team if you want some privacy.
  • Emergency phone calls: Share that you may need to take emergency phone calls during the workday. Ask if there is a private space that you can use.
  • Other support: Let HR and your manager know how they can best support you.


Supporting a NICU Parent

Be boss-ome during your employee’s challenging life event. 

Having a child in the NICU is life-changing and stressful. How you respond to and support your employee during this time is critical.

Tilt Tip: An employee who has entitlement left under FMLA or state/local leave law may have the right to take time off continuously, intermittently or on a reduced schedule basis with proper documentation.

Understanding your employee’s rights is fundamental to empathetic support, so when it’s time to provide them that support, where do you start?

  1. Put yourself in your employee shoes and respond with empathy and care
  2. Reach out to HR to discuss what options are available if more time away is going to be needed. 
  3. Reach out to your employee, and ask if they need anything. Don’t expect an immediate reply
  4. Clarify how your employee wants to share the news, or if at all with the team. This will be especially important when they return to work.
  5. Be prepared to consider a flexible work schedule if they return to work while their baby is still in the NICU.

Want so show your employee that the team is thinking of them? Consider sending them a gift to help make the NICU a little more bearable:

  • A gift certificate to restaurants near the hospital
  • Healthy snack pack; granola bars, trail mix, popcorn
  • Journal
  • Adult coloring books
  • Big sibling activities – puzzles, coloring books, pencils

Supporting your NICU Parent’s Return

Create a safe place for your NICU parent’s return.

A parent who has had, or still has their infant in the NICU may find the return to work really challenging. How you support them during this time leaves a lasting impression on your employee and the team.  On their first day back, chat with your employee.

  • How to manage follow-up medical appointments/procedures: Can your employee work flexibly or remotely on appointment days or from the NICU?
  • Asking for additional time off: Parents may struggle to ask for extra time off work, let your employee know that it is okay to take time off and how they should navigate this
  • Professional Boundaries: Clarify what your employee is comfortable sharing with the team, if anything. Offer to ask the team for privacy during this time. 
  • Emergency phone calls: Understand that your employee may need to take emergency phone calls during the workday. Let them know that they can step away from their desk or a meeting and offer them a private space.
  • Continue to offer support: Reiterate that you are available and open to talking through challenges and ask what you can do to support them.

About Tilt

Tilt is leading the charge in all things leave of absence management through easy-to-use tech and human touch. Since 2017, our proprietary platform and Empathy Warriors have been helping customers make leave not suck by eliminating administrative burdens, keeping companies compliant, and providing a truly positive and supportive leave of absence experience for their people.

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