The new mum was devastated to learn of NICU staff’s disapproval of her and her husband…

A distraught mum-of-two has posted on Mumsnet, sharing her anger and hurt after discovering a judgemental note from NICU staff while her premature baby was in their care. The mum found a number of comments in her medical notes after her baby’s birth that criticised her and her husband for being inattentive.

Not Good Enough

The new mum said she couldn’t believe what she found when she requested her baby’s medical notes after they were discharged. “I’m in tears. Requested my baby’s medical notes after a prem birth. Found a part where 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 wrote. “I don’t drive and I have an older child with disabilities. My husband works, and at that time was working night shifts. They KNEW this.” The mum said she felt personally attacked. “I feel distraught at the notion that at my most vulnerable, when I was trying my best, I was judged as somehow not good enough,” she told the forum.

A Difficult Time

Parents on the forum who had experienced the stress and trauma of having a child in the NICU were quick to rush to the mum’s defence. “I had an experience of very judgemental NICU staff too,” said one. “They seemed to have very rigid ideas of what normal was and no concept that some families have little extended support.” Others, however, were more critical of the family’s approach. “They want you to be on the ward helping to care for the baby,” one commenter wrote. “They wrote down your visits because they were concerned. Nothing wrong in that.”

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Did your child spend time in the NICU? Share your story in the comments!


  • My first spent two weeks in the special care nursery in my country town and the nurses were really wonderful. We had a great experience. I have heard other mums say at different hospitals their experiences haven’t been as wonderful. It’s hard to see your baby hooked up to all the machines and if you have other kids it’s hard to spilt your time.


  • Sister had bub in ICU for 2 weeks, she spent so much time there (along with me) that I often insisted she go home to get some sleep. The nurses were not the most pleasant. On one occasion I had just taken my sister home (55mins drive) when the phone rang and they were demanding to know what she thought she was doing! She had 2 herniated discs and mastitis and I’d gone with her to another area of the hospital for i/v anti-biotics before taking her home to shower and rest for a couple of hours after being at the hospital for 9 hours before going back for another shift of 6 or so hours in the night (hubby was working away). While we were there the nurses more often than not complained/made judgement/criticized the absent parents. It left me feeling hostile and my sister like a failure.


  • My older two were in special care, and I was in there all the time. I didn’t have to work though, and was in hospital myself.


  • Is it possible the logs are used to identify any possible issues. Such as post natal depression? Monitoring how engaged or disengaged you are, how often you are bonding/connecting as well as how much support might be there from hubbie?


  • My twins were early and I have one in the NCIU (Public) and the other in Special Care (Private) and I was travelling between the two to feed my babies! You know someone will always make a judgement, it doesn’t matter what it is over, but it is a sad truth. I was in hospital for 4 weeks with my twins (one week prior to their birth and 3 weeks after), my hubby was at the hospital as much as he possibly could be, whilst also caring for our 3 other boys and working. I remember one of the nurses said to my hubby (oh no, you cant possibly hold your baby, he has just gone to sleep – like wth), we took it straight to the head of Maternity and we were assured we could whenever we wanted (they are our babies). Just remember we do whatever we can and to the best of our ability (at the time). If we don’t have outside support, it seems people are too quick to judge.


  • As harsh as it is they were probably following protocol a had to record all this information be interested to know did the mother approach the hospital about the notes and why was this there also i question could the dad take parental leave or careers leave as they had a child with a disability and just had a new born in special care unit


  • I spent time in NICU when mu son was there. Granted i had no other chikdren to be responsible for. I was 2 hours from home. I spent so much time in NICU that thr hospital staff didnt even leave my meals in my room for me. Heck they didnt feed me i had to sort out my own meals. ????‍♀️
    I know another mum whose bub was rushed to NICU and her Nd her partner stayed at home while bubba was flown out in the chopper to a bigger hospital. Parents didnt go to visit they just rang. That is something that shouldve been criticised not a mum doing her best in the circumstances provided. Theres other factors here not just an i cant be bothered attitude………


  • Thankfully I had a good experience! Only trouble we had was one nurse trying to use the ng tube instead of bottle feeding a few days before going home, hell no that would have set us back two days!


  • My experience was different but still bad enough that I was in tears. Our last boy was premature and was in the special care nursery for a whole week before I got to see him as I had been in intensive care at another hospital. Once we were in the same hospital the staff seemed to think I wasn’t spending enough time with him. Most probably didn’t know I was staying in the renal ward and couldn’t walk myself over. I’d have to ask for a ride over in a wheelchair and would often have to wait a while. There were days I didn’t see him because I had been booked for various things like dialysis, CT scans, xrays etc. The mum guilt was strong. They were the longest weeks of my life.

    • I would have demanded that it be on record that you were elsewhere having lifesaving treatment part of the time you were not with your baby or that they remove comments that upset you from the records.


  • Obviously there are cases where these notes and logs are used to identify issues. Just be happy they decided it wasn’t an issue in the end.


  • I assumed that if your baby was in NICU that you had to be in the ward for the time the baby was in the NICU? In saying that mine was only in there a day or two with jaundice.


  • Fortunately we haven’t spent time in the NICU, but I guess they are only writing what they have heard and seen


  • I’m glad I never had a child in NICU. It’s probably a very stressful time for the parents. :-(


  • No thankfully none of my kids needed to stay in Nicu but always were by my side from since they are born till we leave the hospital


  • My eldest spent 3 weeks in NICU. The nurses write what they see whether it is actually fair or not. You just need to know that you did the best you could and move on.


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