Most parents do not expect to begin life with their new baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Parents of preemies and other hospitalized newborns often feel lost and powerless amidst this new world of medical vocabulary, technology, and numerous health care providers.Understanding the NICU will guide you through your NICU journey, help you communicate with members of the NICU team, and learn about your baby's condition so that you can ask questions and participate as a valuable partner in your baby's care. It will also provide important information about how to care for your baby after you leave the hospital and head home with your little one. Included in the book are inspirational stories from parents who have had their own NICU experiences, bringing hope and comfort to other parents with an infant who is premature or hospitalized. Understanding the NICU provides you with everything you need to know about: • Common NICU equipment and tests • Common medical problems for babies in the NICU • Special health issues for premature infants • Who's who in the NICU and how to work with the team • Mother-baby factors: effects on newborn health • Feeding your baby • Parenting in the NICU • Birth defects and surgery • Heading home from the NICU • Home at last • Caring for your baby in the first year Intensive care is stressful by nature and overwhelming at times. Reading this book and learning about what happens in the NICU will help you gain confidence and feel more reassured about your baby's care in the NICU—and at home.