It’s hard to know what to say when someone in your life has a premature baby, and you may be sorely tempted to say nothing at all. But based on our research, there’s no one perfect right or wrong thing to say to parents of preemies. So instead of worrying about what you should be saying, simply be there for the parents of preemies in your life. Your presence and practical support will mean more to them than you can ever imagine! Here are some ways you can celebrate the parents of preemies in your life on the first Sunday in May:
1. Help spread the word about Parents of Preemies Day on social media – or just share the day with your relative or friend.
2. Commit to hosting a Parents of Preemies Day Event on the first Sunday in May, plan to volunteer at your local event, or register to attend. If there is no event in your area, consider planning something for next year.
3. Treat a parent of a preemie to Proud Preemie Parent Gear so they can show their pride every day.
4. Celebrate with new preemie parents by taking a gift to your local NICU (e.g., bagels, candy, cards… the ideas are endless) on Parents of Preemies Day (the first Sunday in May). Just make sure to call first to make sure it’s okay for you to drop off a gift.
5. Take pictures of your friends and family celebrating Parents of Preemies Day and post them on the Parents of Preemies Day Facebook page or post your photos on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #parentsofpreemiesday.
6. Use any of the suggestions on the two lists below. A community of parents of preemies compiled these lists of simple acts of kindness and helpful words that you can share when you’re not sure what to say or do.
10 Things to Say to the Parents of Preemies Every Day
1. Congratulations! Your baby is beautiful!
2. You’re stronger than you know, and your baby is strong like you.
3. If you’d like someone to be there with you in the NICU, I’d be happy to just sit with you.
4. Can I see a picture?
5. When can I come and visit him/her?
6. After this experience, your bond with your baby is going to be so strong.
7. Prematurity is not your fault and it’s really unfair.
8. What can I do during cold and flu season to keep your family safe?
9. Cry if you need to; I can be strong for you when you need to take a break.
10. You’re a great mom! / You’re a great dad!
✽ ✾ ✿ ❁ ❃ ❋ ❀
10 Things to Do for the Parents of Preemies All Year Long
1. Go food shopping and then cook and freeze a couple (or a lot) of meals that are easy to reheat.
2. Look after a preemie parent’s other children so she or he can spend that much more time in the NICU.
3. Visit the new parents and their preemie as soon as the time is right – and focus on the baby, not the equipment.
4. Reschedule a NICU or home visit when you know you’ve been exposed to germs but aren’t feeling sick (especially during flu and RSV season).
5. Help them get to and from the hospital when transportation is an issue.
6. Walk the dog, feed the cat, mow the lawn… anything that gives a preemie parent less to do at home.
7. Just listen. Parents of premature babies may have thoughts or feelings you don’t understand; you don’t have to ‘get it’.
8. Give a gift their baby can use right now – premature babies who aren’t ready for clothes can often wear specially sized hats.
9. Be understanding when the mom or dad of a preemie doesn’t have a lot of time for you, even if you’ve been missing them for weeks or months.
10. Request a Graham’s Foundation NICU care package on their behalf by visiting the Graham’s Foundation website.
We encourage you to share your act of kindness or helpful words on our Parents of Preemies Day Facebook page so other parents know support is out there!