This is a helpful do’s and don’ts list for people that don’t know what’s appropriate when your friend has a child born early.
Let me say that I’m no expert but as somebody that dealt with the birth of my son at 28 weeks I know a thing or two about a prolonged NICU stay
Let’s start off with the
- When somebody has a kid, say congratulations. When your kid is in the NICU you have enough to worry about and a congrats can feel real good because at the end of the day the person still had a baby.
- Offer to visit. Even in a packed hospital you can still feel alone and scared so a friendly face is help.
- Offer to bring food. When you’re in the NICU you’re not thinking about eating or yourself so even bringing a 4 for 4 from Wendy’s is helpful.
- Do say nice things about the baby. Just because they might be on a ventilator doesn’t mean it’s not a beautiful being.
- Don’t ask when their kid is coming home. They don’t know and it’s an added stressor.
- Don’t ask why they named there kid that name instead of this one…… This one actually happened to me. I don’t care what you think of my kids name, I’m concentrating all my energy on make sure he gets out of the NICU.
- Don’t compare the size of the baby to a very small object. It makes us feel like you don’t think the baby isn’t big enough to be real.
- Don’t over ask how the baby doing. Instead ask how the parents are doing.
- Don’t call the hospital free baby sitting. It’s probably the most expensive thing and also all they want is their baby to be home.
- Don’t be annoying. This one sounds rude but I’ve got other things to worry about.
I may update it as I remember more things but here’s my guide. May it help you be the best friend to those new parents. Also may it help those new parents feel better and concentrate on bringing that baby home.
As a father who lost a twin due to complications from Twin-to-Twin transfusion syndrome and had a 2 and a half month NICU stay with our surviving son I really do hope this guide helps.