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Advice for grandparents of a premature baby

Congratulations! You’re a grandparent!! Whether it’s for the first time, or for the 10th, what a wonderful experience. If your grandchild is in the NICU it is probably a mix of emotions and you want nothing more to know how you can help.

First things first…Celebrate your new grandchild!!

Make sure that your son or daughter know how proud you are of bringing a new life into the world, and how much you love them all. Respect their wishes though – the NICU world can be a complicated one - so if mum and dad will let you know how involved they need you to be.

It's hard to provide support in the NICU or SCBU, but there's lots you can help with

It can be hard for new NICU parents to ask Grandma and Grandad to help at home, so take the thinking out of their hands and do one of these:

  • Offer to watch your other grandkids so that mum and dad can spend extra time at the NICU
  • Offer to drive the new mummy to hospital
  • Offer to cook meals and leave extras in their freezer
  • Offer to clean the house/do laundry
  • If you live far away, keep in touch with phone calls/texts or video messages 

There are some things for grandparents to remember not to do too

Don’t get upset if you can’t hold or touch the premature baby. NICU’s have strict rules about visitors not holding premature babies, as they want the parents to be the first port of call for a cuddle, until baby is big enough to be able to handle being passed around.

Don’t bombard the new parents with questions about diagnoses and conditions – show an interest, but don’t make the parents feel as though they are on a quiz show!

Spoil your premature baby grandchild

Grandparents are notorious for spoiling their grandchildren, and your NICU baby should be no different. Send a gift directly to the NICU to surprise mum and dad – a blanket (for skin-to-skin), an outfit for baby to be dressed in their incubator, or a cuddly octopus for little fingers to grab a hold of.

There is plenty at Little Mouse's shop for you to choose from, which parents will fall in love with. We would recommend that you don’t wait for a thank you card or acknowledgement – this will probably come when baby is discharged and mum and dad have had some time to settle in with their new arrival.

Grandparents of premature babies are so valuable

We can’t put into words how valuable you can be as a grandparent to your new premature grandchild, and how much support you can provide for your son or daughter. Be strong for them, and enjoy life as a grandma or grandad!

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