Five things to say to a family who have just had a premature baby

Most mums do not expect to have a premature baby and when bub comes along earlier than planned it can be a stressful time for mum and dad. It can also be awkward for family and friends as you may not know what to say or do.  

The nursing staff at the Special Care Nursery at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne have put together a list of five things to say to families for a premature baby that can help make a big difference to their lives.

1.  “Congratulations!”

Congratulate the parents on the birth of their baby. 

Many new parents say that no one calls to congratulate them like they do for a full term healthy baby, instead they receive calls like “sorry to hear about the baby”. 

2.  “How are you going?” 

While most friends will check on the health of the baby, it’s easy to forget to ask how the parents are coping. It can be useful to have a friend to talk to at this difficult time.

3.  “Can I cook you a meal?” 

Sometimes there is no greater gift than food, especially when you are spending all your time at the hospital. Having a healthy home cooked meal ready for you when you get home can be one of the most supportive things a friend can do.
person making lasagna

4.  “Would you like visitors?”

If the mum is still in hospital, she may be very busy expressing milk, going to the nursery, resting, and recovering from the birth. 

Most nurseries have very strict rules around visiting and parents of premature babies often feel they are ‘entertaining’ guests in their rooms, when they would rather be in the Nursery with their baby. If the parents haven’t asked for visitors, maybe don’t visit and send your best wishes instead. 

5.  “What do you need?”

When a baby arrives prematurely, most parents are not ready! They may still have a few items to buy, they may need to assemble a cot or secure their new car seat in the car. Some Mums may not be able to drive due to the birth and might just need to be driven to and from the hospital for a few days. Others might need help with bigger siblings with school pickups or child minding. Volunteer your services and offer a helping hand.
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