Having an Available Rabbi
Many halachic questions come up over the course of any NICU journey, from electric doors in hospitals to medical decisions. It is helpful to have a rabbinical authority who is available to answer your questions as they come up.
Additionally, when asking for Halachic rulings regarding medical issues, please keep in mind that some, but not all Rabbis are experts in preemie care. If you intend on asking anyone medical advice please be sure to inquire about the extent of their knowledge in this particular field. If your usual Rabbi is unfamiliar or inexperienced with preemies, it is okay to ask him for a recommendation of someone that is.
Keep in mind that when dealing with premature infants many halachic leniencys may apply. Don’t hesitate to ask your Rabbi any questions you may have.
Questions you may want to ask your Rabbi:
- What is permissible on Shabbos and Yom Tov in caring for a new mother? (like electronic beds, call buttons, elevators and electronic doors)
- What is permissible on Shabbos in caring for a premature infant?
- Can a caregivers communicate with the hospital staff on Shabbos and Yom Tov?
- What is permissible regarding pumping for a preemie on Shabbos and Yom Tov?
The NICU will generally have a time when all visitors must leave.
While it is a very good idea for parents to go home each night and spend some time taking care of themselves if they can, there are times when you may find it necessary to stay near the hospital overnight.
Here are a few options of places to stay the night near your hospital:
Most large hospitals have hotels near them. You can ask the hospital staff or just google “Hotels near me.”
2. Hospital Guest facilities
Some hospitals may offer hotel-like facilities which are very close to the hospital. Once again, you can ask hospital staff for more information on these, though in NYC hospitals they are often expensive and booked months in advance .
3. Bikur Cholim apartments or rooms
These are apartments and rooms which are owned by local chesed organizations and available for use by people who must stay near the hospital.
Some information about such housing is available here.
If you do not see your hospital, you can try to contact members of the local community or the local Chabad.
If your hospital is in the tri-state area, there is likely a kosher restaurant or grocery near you as well as a Bikur Cholim room which is usually stocked with food. There may even be kosher food in your hospital cafeteria.
This list can help you find kosher food sources in your hospital.
Additionally, the app called Great Kosher Restaurants will sense your location and tell you which kosher restaurants are near you. Its incredibly helpful when you are in an unfamiliar location.
If your hospital is not in the tri-state area, there may be kosher food near you. You can ask your hospital staff if there is a Bikur Cholim room in your hospital. (You may be pleasantly surprised.)
You may also be able to find a source by googling “Kosher Food Near Me.” If this yields no result you, can try to find out information on the Jewish community near you by contacting the local Chabad house. They should be able to help you with any religious related needs you may have while spending time at the hospital.