How to Help Moms with Preemies

No Mom ever thinks she is going to have a premature baby; every Mom dreams of having a baby full term. So it can be a shock to be told you're going to have a baby earlier than full time, and an even greater shock if it happens without warning. There is a way to help moms of premature babies and that is by providing a few things that will help out.


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    Make premature baby clothes. Moms of premature babies are often reduced to using doll clothing or over-sized neonate clothing. You can help out by stitching up a storm and making as many premature baby sized clothes as you have time for. Tiny pajamas, tiny suits, tiny tops and tiny socks are all very useful items to make in advance and donate to baby wards in hospitals for moms to help themselves to and for staff to use on premature babies under their constant care. Some hospitals even encourage this with special programs, such as the PJs for Preemies program run at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Ask your hospital if they have anything similar and if not, tell them you are starting it!
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    Spend some time with the moms. Moms (and Dads) of preemies are often very worried and can also be frustrated at being unable to take home their little bundle of joy. Give them some time to talk things through with you and reassure them that things will go OK. Sometimes you might even be in the position of acting as a go-between for the parents with the medical staff if they are upset or too worried to ask questions.
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    Encourage the parents to prepare for the homecoming. Having a preemie can be a little bit of a false start to parenthood because the baby isn't ready to come home straight away and, in many cases, close and constant contact between Mom and baby is yet to occur. Mom can be sitting at home staring at the wall wondering and being frustrated when she could be using that time to cook meals and freeze them, to clean up unhygienic areas of the house in preparation for the challenged immune system baby coming home and catching up on errands that haven't yet been done. Concentrating on these tasks will ease some of the concerns and worrying time, as well as readying the house for the inevitable arrival that will turn the household upside down as much as the arrival of a full-time baby does.
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    Suggest some reading. Borrow books from the local library or take out literature from the hospital that will help the Mom understand better what her baby might be experiencing and how things will be a little different for her than from moms of full-term babes. It will also help her to understand what will be just the same!
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    Help out when the preemie baby does come home. In just the same way you'd help out the parents of a full-term baby, help out with the preemie baby. It helps to let the parents have a little time off a few weeks after arrival because even though they have waited this long, the newness and sudden neediness of a new baby is just the same for preemie parents as for any other new parents!


  • Premature babies have very fragile immune systems, don't take it personally or make comments about "building the babies immune system" if the parents ask you not to visit (including family). Premature babies are often re-hospitalized due to infections and this is one of the leading causes of death for premature babies.
  • Preemies are often a lot quieter than their full-term cousins; reassure the parents that this is normal and encourage them to listen to the advice of medical staff in relation to any possible complications and to just be aware that there may be a need for extra vigilance.
  • Start a volunteer group to make the clothing if you have the time to run one and keep up the supply. Sometimes you might even be able to make use of recuperating patients looking for something to do with their hands - this can make a nice cycle of giving and providing things to do!
  • When making the clothing for the preemies, not only make them tiny but also consider using non-irritating fabrics as the skin of preemies is very sensitive. In addition, ask nurses about suitable shaping to enable medical access (the Toronto hospital pattern includes this).
  • No doubt there are loads of other ways you can help out moms with preemies, so please add them here!

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Categories: Babies and Infants