7 Things You Can Do to Help a Parent With a Premature Baby

Parent with premature babyNovember 17 marks World Prematurity Day, an international initiative that aims to promote awareness and support surrounding premature birth. It's estimated 1 of every 8 babies in the United States is premature -- born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Here are some ways you can help a mom with a child in NICU.

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Having a child before full term can be extremely scary and overwhelming. Hopefully these ideas will encourage you to find different ways to help out your loved one with a premature baby.

1. Help keep the house running. It's only assumed a mom or dad would spend as much time as they can in the hospital with their child. With that said, a great way to help out is to check up on Mom or Dad's house while they're away. Simple acts, like picking up older children from day care or school, walking/feeding pets, getting the mail, and even washing a few loads of laundry, can really go a long way.

2. Make a care package. Whether you live close by, or are a great distance away, feel free to make a care package. You can include staples like preemie-size clothes and accessories, items to accommodate nursing -- and also other needs, like gift cards for gas and food, books and magazines, snacks, to-go toiletries, money for parking at the hospital, and whatever else you think your loved one could use.

3. Cook a meal. Any parent with a newborn would love this! Don't hesitate to offer a few home-cooked meals -- including freezer dishes your friend or family member can enjoy for days to come.

4. Drive to and from the hospital. Should you have the time in your schedule, consider taking a parent with a preemie to and/or from the hospital. There's a very good chance he or she is exhausted, and could use as much help driving as possible.

5. Help identify resources. Parents with a child in NICU don't often have a ton of time to dedicate to finding resources that can help them. There are many organizations, like Graham's Foundation, that provide support and assistance to families with a premature baby.

6. Give words of encouragement/affirmations. Sadly, there are many uncertainties a child born prematurely can face. As you would expect, it takes an emotional toll on the parent. A great way to show your support is to keep the words of encouragement and affirmations coming. Gift a journal Mom or Dad can use in the hospital as they sit by their child's side. You can also write empowering notes (text and emails are okay) to help them stay positive.

More from The Stir: 20 Things Not to Say to a Mom of a Preemie

7. Be a listening ear. There are extra precautions a parent with a preemie must take -- and sometimes that means quarantining his or her child. No matter if you're allowed to be around the baby or not, just be present. Be the listening ear for your loved one to vent. Let him or her know you're there, for any needs.

 

 

Image via herjua/shutterstock

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