First off, congrats on your upcoming graduation!
I just completed my first year as a NICU new grad and glad I came across your post. I honestly think that if NICU or infant care is what you want right off the bat, then go for it. I found that a small percentage of people that I graduated with went into med-surge and the majority of my class went into the specialties they wanted (NICU, L&D, ED, ICU, peds). That was something that I struggled with when I was applying as well, but I definitely don't think that med-surge experience in something that you have to have.
I work in a Level IV NICU and that means we handle some of the most critical patients and some babies are with us for months and months. We get a mix of critical patients, feeders and growers and full term babies who just need some help within the first 48 hours of life then we send them back up to full term. For me, the good days outweigh the bad and I think we see more positive things than sad. I find that working in the NICU is very routine. We do "cares" (feeding, assessing and doing vitals on the babies) every 3 or 4 hours, depending on how stable they are. Working in the NICU has really allowed me to improve in time management since sometimes you may have one critical baby and many things that need to be done or three babies, all with families there who need something, so I've learned to work efficiently and prioritize. I have also bettered my communication skills when talking to providers and patients.
I work days and night shifts and we have different tasks that each shift does apart from the other, but other than that it's routine for the most part. I over-all think that NICU is a good work environment and working with babies is very rewarding. Hope this helps!
I don't know much about mother-baby, but if you're looking to work with infants, look into couplet care positions. You'll look after both mom and baby instead of mainly the mother. Also look for new-born nursery or full-term nursery positions to apply to as well! I know some hospital are starting a neonatal assessment nurse position which looks after the new born after deliveries in the first few hours of life and its your job to do baby vitals and make sure that they are adjusting appropriately.
Hope this helps!