Below are some handy tips & advice from parents of premature babies who have been through the NICU/SCN rollercoaster journey with their children.
Get to know the other parents in the NICU. I have made very many great friends who helped me through the ups and downs that come with having premature baby. We are still providing support to each other 2 years down the track. Keep a journal of things that happen whilst they are in hospital. It’s ok to cry and let your emotions show the hospital staff are very supportive.
Mum of Jordan and Benjamin born at 24+5 weeks gestation
Talking to other parents certainly does help also joining forums where you can chat at your leisure from home connects you with other families. Take heaps of pictures and either keep a diary or start a blog!
Mum of Ronan born at 27+3 weeks gestation
Look after yourself too so you have the energy to look after your baby. Your baby is looking to you for love and strength and those are the most powerful medicines that you can give to them.
Mum of Rachel born at 24+2 weeks gestation
This is probably one of the most difficult experiences in your life, but try to find balance – easier said than done some days – between the worries and the joys. Don’t miss out on the happiness your amazing baby can bring you right now by stressing too much about the future. Take care of yourself, enjoy every little milestone and find people who will give you the emotional support you need (including other parents of a premature baby) to come to terms with what has happened and start the healing process.
Mum of Talia born at 26+6 weeks gestation
Don’t feel bad if you can’t be at the hospital ALL the time. You need time for you. It is completely exhausting travelling to and from the hospital every day. Take a long bath or get a takeaway. You need to be strong and healthy to take care of your baby when they come home.
Mum to Jade born at 28+1 weeks gestation
I would advise parents to take the time for each other and their other children if they have any. Family is so very important and having some ’space’ to be normal is vital.
Mum of Ava born at 25+6 weeks gestation
Take lots of photos!! Take comparison photo’s with a teddy or something to remind yourself how little they where and how far they have come. Remember to take care of you too… bubs needs you to be healthy.
Mum of Indiana born at 28+1 weeks gestation
Take LOTS of pictures & keep a diary. Stand up for yourself and your baby, don’t let anyone push you around just because they are looking after your baby. Take people up on their offers to help.
Mum to Brendan born at 30+1 weeks gestation
Giving birth to a prem baby is such an unexpected journey, ask the NICU nurses about all the amazing miracles they have seen… this gave me so much hope and you are allowed to cry… you can’t be strong the whole time.
Mum to Charlee-Belle born at 31+4 weeks gestation
It is not easy but it is worth every struggle. You will have ups and downs and many frustrations but the pain will be outweighed by the beautiful boy or girl you have who has struggled so hard to be with you. When times are tough spend a minute looking at your baby or holding your baby and you will know it was worth it. Also get as much support around you as you can. This includes family, friends and through L’il Aussie Prems
Dad to Kai born at 32 weeks gestation
Knowledge is power. Remember statistics are only that…and they are always changing – because our babies change them. Take loads of photos and still record all your “firsts” like first bath, first nappy change etc….
Mum to Harper & Cleo born at 32 weeks gestation
Remember it is your baby, advocate for him/her whenever possible & take tonnes of photos, you will never believe they were so small when they are nearly 10 years old!!!
Mum to Eloise born at 34 weeks gestation
Accept your child for whom they are. Don’t label them with problems just because of their gestational age. Tim at 36 weeks, caused us more dramas than his sister who was born at 32 weeks. Whatever gestation your baby is born at focus on what they achieve, not what they cannot achieve!
Mum to Tim born at 36+3 weeks gestation
Everyone who has had a premmie knows how tough they are, they are just born survivors, but on the other and they are still fragile. To find a balance of knowing how much to push them and shelter them is difficult. With all the developmental issues that comes with prematurity, my advice would be to get out there and be as involved as you can in ‘early intervention programs’, it makes a huge difference. Lots of appointments and alot of extra work was all worth it to see Will in school now thriving.
Mum to Will born at 26+4 weeks gestation
This is the hardest time of your life, once you get through this you can get through anything. Stay strong, do lots kangaroo care as much as possible as it does help you and your baby. Take lots of photos because as it may not seem like it now but the memories do fade as new beautiful memories take over. Take some time to relax and remember you didnt do anything wrong, this was not your fault.
Mum to Azaan born at 26+5 weeks gestation
Being our second prem, we had a little insight into what we were in for, but every baby is different. We went into this with the same positive determination we held with our first. Having a toddler being separated from Mummy most of the time was very hard, we tried to include her in everything, make sure she was a part of the whole journey whenever possible. Goodbyes were always the hardest thing, leaving our little tiny babe behind every night, but we always tried to say goodbye with a smile. The little ones are less likely to be very upset if you have a smile, they know that all must be ok, I know you love me, you aren’t really sad so I will try not to be. We still apply that to everyday.
Mum to Zach born at 34 weeks gestation
Make sure you continue to be pushy for answers, I found doctors left a lot out of you didn’t ask the questions.
Mum to Saxon born at 34 weeks gestation
Talk to other parents in the NICU, everyone is going through the highs and lows of having a premature baby and the support of someone who knows the hurdles and struggles of the hospital journey is comforting. They may become a life long friend.
Mum to Nixon born at 33+3 weeks gestation
I know it’s tough but try enjoy every day. Don’t let anyone pressure you about breastfeeding…. At the end of the day bub doesn’t care weather it’s breast or bottle milk so long as he/she is loved by you. Write a short diary entry so those tough days at home later you can read how much you went through and how your bub is lucky to be here.
Mum to Xavier born at 28 weeks gestation
A good friend who had also experienced a premature baby told me to keep thinking about the first birthday! The colour of the balloons..the food all of it! And remember, this is just a stage! A few months from now it will all be a distant memory!
Mum to Indie born at 28+5 weeks gestation
The information & advice from parents above is not intended to replace professional advice in anyway. We hope that it will give you comfort, advice & inspiration from other parents who have been in the NICU/SCN with their premature babies to help you along with your journey.