How to help Dad cope with a premature baby

The prospect of a premature birth is a worry a lot of parents face. We offer some advice on how dad can ease his mind, help Mum, and keep himself involved.

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What emotions should Dad expect to go through?

After Mum has given birth to a premature baby, it’s natural that family members, and hospital staff, will be fussing over her and the new arrival.

While this is to be expected, it may leave Dad feeling isolated, powerless and out of touch, which of course will only add to the stress he’s already under.

How can Dad deal with these emotions?

If Dad is experiencing any of the above emotions, as well as mounting anxiety and worry after baby has arrived, the best thing he can do is speak up, and ask for help if he needs it.

With men, the temptation is often to simply put a brave face on, but if he’s being overwhelmed with the stress, then this helps no-one.

What can he do to help ease his mind?

Every birth brings excitement and joy, but also trepidation and, especially if mum goes into labour prematurely, fear.

To help combat this, Dad should read up on as much literature on premature birth as possible, as well as speak to the doctors and nurses in the hospital. Speaking to any family or friends who have been in the same situation will help as well.

Maintaining a positive attitude and talking to Mum is also key.

How can he help ease mum’s mind?

Naturally, mum will be anxious and worried after giving birth prematurely. Dad can help her by resting when he can to keep on top of things, and not skipping his turn when it’s time to feed and clean the baby!

Also, taking time to celebrate baby’s milestones will also help.

Dad should also explain to any other children why Mum may be exhausted and spending more time with the new arrival, as well as fielding calls  from anxious family members.

Interviewee: Jules Robertson, Tommy’s

Jules Robertson is a midwife for baby charity Tommy’s and works on it’s freephonePregnancyLine – a telephone service staffed by Tommy’s midwives, to offer bereavement counselling support for anyone who has lost a baby, or advice on premature birth. Call Tommy’s PregnancyLine on 0800 0147 800, or visit www.tommys.orgPhotography: Catherine Scott @Flickr

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