Helping Hands: Ways To Support a Friend With a Preemie Baby
Parents expect their baby to arrive right around the due date during pregnancy. While it may not be the exact date the doctor says, it’s usually around this time. The couple may have a baby shower where friends and family gift them the many things needed for their precious arrival. However, some babies arrive several weeks early, and the new parents may need additional help. Thankfully, they have you in their life, and there are many ways to support a friend with a preemie baby.
Offer Rides to the Hospital
Depending on how premature the baby is, it may need to spend several weeks at the hospital. As a result, mom and dad will feel like the hospital is a second home. They’ll spend most of the day feeding and caring for their newborn.
If one partner has to return to work, getting to the hospital may become complicated, even if they have two cars. How? The emotional toll. This is a stressful time for your friend, and they need your support. Offer to go to the hospital with them so they know that no matter how they feel, they’re never alone.
Bring Them a Meal
During difficult times, nothing brings us comfort like a delicious meal, especially when someone else does all the hard work of cooking it. Call your friend and ask them when you can bring breakfast or dinner, not if you can. It’s easy for us to decline help when it sounds optional because no one wants to feel burdensome. If you want to give your friend options, ask what you should cook and what day to bring it over.
Gift Them Some Supplies
Those adorable onesies and binkies will have to sit in the nursery for a few weeks. Preemies are much smaller than full-term babies. Help the new parents by purchasing preemie diapers, and clothes. Introducing a paci to preemies could be something to consider. Pacifiers may help premature babies harness the sucking reflex and provide them comfort in the NICU.
If a mother wants to breastfeed but her baby is in the hospital, you can provide her with a breast pump so she can pump milk and have it stored for the baby to consume when they are together. Additionally, you can provide her with information and resources on how to properly store and transport breast milk, as well as tips on how to maintain her milk supply while separated from her baby. Support and encouragement are also important.
If you don’t know what to buy, ask your friend what they need. This way, you don’t give them something they may already have. Since this is a stressful time for your friend, they may not know what they need. In this instance, preemie diapers and pacifiers are usually the safest options; you can’t have too much of either.
Be a Listening Ear
In difficult times, we need our friends more than ever. The final way to support a friend with a preemie baby is to simply listen. Ask your friend how they’re really doing—let them put the brave front down and let it all out. Their fears, concerns, and frustration at the situation are all valid. Invite them for a cup of tea and their favorite meal so you can embrace one another’s company. In time, their baby will get to come home for everyone to coo over.
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