Stepping Up! How Non-Birthing Parents Can Support Premature Births
How can non-birthing parents support premature births?
Being a parent is never easy, but it can be challenging when your newborn baby is born prematurely. As a dad or non-birthing partner, you may feel helpless or powerless in such moments.
But there are ways that you can provide support to your family during this difficult time. In this article, we'll explore the role of fathers and partners in premature births and offer tips on providing support during this difficult time.
First, consider the needs of the mother. She's carrying and birthing the baby, so she deserves plenty of support and love during this process. You can provide that by bringing her meals or snacks, doing housework she doesn't have time for, or just listening if she wants to talk.
You can also help with baby care while at the hospital and go to change diapers, help feed babies through expressed breast milk, keep them warm, or read stories to them if they are old enough for that level of stimulation.
No matter your role, it's essential to stay positive and provide emotional support when needed. Helping creates an environment that fosters comfort can make a difference for both parents during this difficult time.
Start reading articles, watching videos, and talking to your partner's doctor. Plenty of online resources provide detailed information about preterm birth and how families can cope with the challenges it presents.
No one ever goes into a pregnancy expecting their baby to be born early. It's usually something other than what is planned for or expected. Preparing for an eventuality is essential to feel safe if your partner enters labor unexpectedly.
It might seem like you're alone as a dad or non-birthing parent when you first hear about your premature baby, but you're not! Take advantage of support groups, or lean on family members who have been through something similar. This can be an invaluable source of comfort and allows you to understand better the changes that come with prematurity.
Premature birth can be stressful on both the parent/family and baby, so watch out for possible signs of stress in both parties, sleeping difficulty, poor appetite, worry, or agitation. If any of these are present, connect with a mental health provider or support group right away for guidance on how to best manage care during this time.
Listen to your partner and be understanding of their feelings of anxiety, grief, or guilt. They need a safe space to express their emotions without judgment. Showing compassion will help them feel supported and reassured.
Take time for yourself.
Being able to support your partner through their premature birth experience effectively requires that you take time for yourself so that you can stay healthy too. This means taking breaks when needed and caring for your mental and physical health.