Taking care of my baby: Mexican-American mothers in the neonatal intensive care unit

Lisa M. Cleveland, Sharon D. Horner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: The admission of an infant to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can produce significant stress for mothers and may contribute to a difficult transition following discharge. Past research has primarily focused on Caucasian women. Mexican-Americans are the fastest growing ethnic population in the U.S. with the highest fertility rate; therefore, the purpose of this grounded theory study was to gain a better understanding of the NICU experience for Mexican-American mothers. Methods: Fifteen women were recruited and data were collected through semi-structured interviews. Results: A theoretical model, taking care of my baby, was developed. The mothers' experiences began with the unexpected event of having an infant admitted to the NICU and played out in a context that fluctuated between being supportive (making meaningful connections) or inhibitive (struggling to mother). The women developed strategies to help them take care of their babies during the NICU stay: balancing responsibilities, leaving part of me with my baby, and watching over. The process concluded in one of two ways: bringing my baby home or losing my baby. Conclusion: These findings offer insight for neonatal nurses who provide care for Mexican-American NICU mothers and may help inform their practice. Further research is needed with this growing population to ensure supportive nursing care and influence positive outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-175
Number of pages13
JournalComprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Hispanic
  • Mexican-American
  • Mothering
  • Neonatal intensive care unit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Taking care of my baby: Mexican-American mothers in the neonatal intensive care unit'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this