Tuesday 3 July 2012

Just One Thing - One Piece of Advice for a New Parent of a Premature Baby

When you have a premature baby, you enter into a supportive, diverse community of parents who have sat where you are, by their baby's incubator, shocked, scared, overwhelmed. I asked my community to give one piece of advice for new parents of a premature baby. The answers were as diverse as our community, and
you are bound to find something that fits you.

Image generated by http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/

Write down any questions you may have for the doctors and nurses. Once you step onto the unit, your mind will go blank. Also, make sure you have true friends around that will support you. Never give up hope either.

Never ask why did this happen to me as a negative, say it as a positive as only special babies are given to special people

Take time to spend with the baby as a couple (if you're in one). We didn't, it was always one of us with a visitor, or the other, and he was still at work...So I didn't see him for weeks it felt like.

Never give up.

Don't feel pushed into having visitors all the time. We had constant visitors to see Sophie - our 4 visitor passes were all used every day and we had to actually draw up a timetable! Most of the time, either Alan or I had to sit out in the waiting room because people all came in 2s and we were only allowed 3 round the incubator. Needless to say, the novelty wore off as soon as she was home - we got the impression people wanted to see the tiniest baby they'd ever seen. If we had our time again, we'd definitely be saying no to all but the closest people to us

Believe in them. Believe in the medical staff. But most of all believe in them
Mummy Pinkwellies

Enjoy them. Easier said than done but try not to worry about what might be/happen. Take each day as it comes.

Go and buy a little incubator buddy(teddy) for you little one.... it isn't much but for the few moments it took for us to choose the right one we forgot about the hurt, the upset and uncertainty and just had thoughts of 'we have a baby boy' running through our head

Remember there are no rights and wrongs you do what it takes to get you through it .

Take as many pictures as you can and keep a diary. You may be in shock for weeks without realising. Keeping records helps you to remember and record their fight and you will be so proud reading their journey.  

Kangaroo care. Best thing ever. I'm sure that's why my twins learnt to breast feed (although that was hard work too.)

We taped a picture of me and a picture of his daddy inside his cot for when we weren't there and also did the thing with cloths and teddies down the bra... insist on kangaroo care as soon as its possible.

Take things one day at a time because it is a lot all at once and you can get very overwelmed. Remember your not alone there are support groups and other parent in the NICU. I know felt very alone when Lily was in the nicu then husband had I joined a preemie support groups. The only other advice is don't forget to take care of your self don't forget to eat sleep etc. That precious miracle needs a healthy mommy and daddy

Don't be afraid to ring the unit at any hour of the night or day. If you are not sleeping and it will help to check in, then do it and don't feel guilty about 'disturbing' the nurses.

Try and let people help you as much as possible...making meals, making lunches, doing the washing etc.
Make sure you take time out for yourself. You need to look after yourself as well. Try not to feel guilty if you can't spend every waking moment in the NICU.

Never ignore your gut instincts is the advice I would give and never be afraid to ask questions and challenge things that you are not sure of or comfortable about.

Talk to as many people as you can about your experience, my feelings of guilt were overwhelming and it helped me to know this was 'normal' and others shared many of the same feelings and concerns I had.

Ask as many questions as many times as you need. Also It's ok to cry, scream, rant and rave and its also ok to laugh.

Trust your instincts and don't be afraid to do it your way

Never give up.
Yes its in twice, and no its not a typo

Thank you so much to all who contributed, there were loads of you, and if this is successful I will make this a regular feature.  




  1. Great idea and some wonderful advice for parents currently going through Nicu.

  2. Great idea and some wonderful advice for parents currently going through Nicu.

  3. A little practical tip: My husband bought some small speakers, attached them to his Ipod and placed them in the incubator playing (quietly) classical music. It seemed to soothe our daughter, helped us to know we were doing something for her, and even nowat 14 months she relaxes when we have classical music playing in the bedroom.

  4. Try to look after yourself as well, I've had three preemies and its so easy to let everything else go and just be with your baby. But your baby needs you at your strongest and best. Remember to eat well and rest.

  5. We put an iPod in her bed with classical music and it still seems to help her sleep at 2yrs. Most important thing I can say is get to know your nurses and ask for a primary nurse if this is offered. Most all the NICU nurses were great but we loved having the same nurses that knew our little angel as well as we did at the time!