Tips for family and friends of parents of preemies
Being the parent of a premature baby is incredibly stressful, and they will need your support. As the family and friends, there are some things you can do to help make the process easier for them, as outlined by raisingchildren.net.au:
Do what you normally do when a baby is born: offer your congratulations, ring the parents, give gifts. Help them celebrate their baby;
Support the parents in any way they require: ask them what they need and what you can do. If the parents want to be alone, respect that and let them be, but make sure they know you are there for them;
Stay in touch with the parents, whether it’s a text, email, quick call, or old-fashioned snail-mail, let them know you’re thinking of them and hope they are going well;
Avoid talking about the challenges the baby may face, unless the parents bring it up with you. Avoid offering up advice based on someone else’s experiences. It is a difficult time for parents so be sensitive to their situation. Offer positive comments such as ‘he’s strong like his mum’; and
Listen: sometimes parents just need to talk, and don’t need you to advise them. They just need to speak about their overwhelming feelings and know they can talk about those mixed emotions without feeling judged.
As the family and friends, the parents will need you and will be so grateful for any help you can offer.