Tips for parents, family and friends of sick or premature babies

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We asked parents what tips they have for parents, family and friends of sick or newborn premature babies who require extra care and support.

Tips for parents

Look after yourself and each other

“Mums and Dads need their sleep, and they need to support each other really well. You might have one partner who wants to talk and another who doesn’t, so being able to support each other, and to understand how they are coping with the experience in their own way, is really important.”

Cherish every moment… even the small ones

“The future is untold for all of us, and it’s important that we treasure every moment. It’s amazing what gift we have been given – some people, though, will have it for a lot longer than others. Some will have children who will outlive us, others will only get those special little moments. Really cherish those special little moments.”

Remember that in NICU your baby is in the best of hands

“It’s good to know that in NICU and in these hospital environments, your baby is in the best hands. Ask plenty of questions so that you can be reassured and have an understanding of what is happening with your baby.”

Use the support available to you

“Listen to your social worker and attend the support group talks. I liked to go to the free talks at the hospital about preterm babies that the specialists presented, as well as talks from the Miracle Babies Foundation.”


Tips for extended family and friends

Offer practical help and support

“I think offering specific, practical ways to help is the best. Don’t just say: ‘I’m here if you need me’, but more so suggest actual ways you can help, such as: ‘I’m going to cook you dinner tonight’, or ‘let me take you to the hospital’, or ‘let me come around and do some washing for you, or other home duties’. I think the practical things are what helped me the most.”

Everyone deals with things differently, so let the parents lead you with what they need

“For example, some people might like to go to the movies to take a break from thinking about everything for an hour or two, others might like to sit down with a coffee and talk about it for a few hours. Everyone is really different, and everyone will deal with things differently.”

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 Discover support services and resources in Australia for parents, family members and caregivers of sick or premature babies. Find out more about available in-hospital and external services here.
 Read about Katelyn’s experiences of having Piper, her daughter, born at 29 weeks, and the journey of Piper as a sick premature baby separated from her mother at birth here.
 Also read the journey of Kylie, who shares with us her experiences of devastating heartbreaks and miraculous triumphs in having premature babies. Find her story here.


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Date Created: June 25, 2018 Date Modified: July 18, 2018