The browser you are using is too old for our website. Please visit from Chrome and you will be able to browse normally.


      Helping with a premature baby

      Baby Hand Holding Parents Finger

      Helping with a premature baby

      Small blessings

      Love and support can get you through

      Giving birth to a preterm baby can be an emotionally stressful and exhausting time for both parents. As a partner, you may feel helpless and that you should be strong, but both you and your partner will need comfort and support. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself and seek support if you need it.

      Supporting your partner and new-born

      Neonatal units are well equipped to care properly for your premature baby, but with all the staff and medical equipment they can be daunting places to be. Try to stay close to your baby, talking with your partner – if your baby is around 24 weeks old, they’ll recognise your voice from when they were inside the womb, and it will bring them comfort to hear you.

      Your neonatal team will tell you how much physical contact you can have with your baby, but offering a reassuring touch every now and again is usually fine and will help let your baby know you’re there. Then, once your baby is strong enough, you’ll usually be able to get involved in their care – changing nappies, bathing, massaging and even feeding.

      Preparing to go home

      Having a premature baby can mean you spend a great deal of time in hospital, so getting back to the house to get chores done can be difficult. You may want to share the responsibility with your partner, so that when it comes to bringing your new baby home, the house is ready. It can sometimes help to take a break from hospital duties, clear your mind and concentrate on something different, but do make sure you’re asking for help from friends and family; you’ll need them at this time.

      If your new baby has older brothers and sisters, you may want to introduce them and get them involved in tasks. It can be difficult for children if their parents are spending long periods in hospital, and it can help to make them aware of what’s going on.


      Postnatal depression is more common in parents of premature babies.

      Postnatal depression in partners

      Postnatal depression (PND) isn’t something that only affects new mums – partners are susceptible too. It’s often more common in parents of premature babies because of the added stresses and strains. Unfortunately, PND can put added pressure on an already difficult situation, and it’s important that if you suspect either yourself or your partner to be suffering, you get advice from a healthcare professional.

      It’s a good idea to be aware of the following symptoms:

      • Crying
      • Panic attacks
      • Being tired all the time
      • Inability to sleep
      • Loss of appetite or excessive appetite
      • Loss of self-esteem
      • Mood swings

      Last reviewed: 19th May 2015


      Brighter futures start here

      Discover more about infant development to help shape your baby's future

      Join now for free

      Your baby's future health begins here

      Your baby's future health begins here

      At Aptaclub, we believe that experience helps to build resilience; that
      each new encounter, whether in pregnancy or after birth, can shape your
      baby’s future development. With our scientific expertise and one-to-one
      round the clock support, we can help you and your baby embrace tomorrow.

      Join Aptaclub

      More from our experts

      Questions about feeding and nutrition?

      Our nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.

      Brighter futures start here

      Discover more about infant development to help shape your baby's future

      Join now for free

      Your privacy is important to us and therefore we would like to explain how we use cookies on this website. With your consent, we will use cookies to measure and analyse how our website is used (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisation cookies), and to show you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies) we think you will like. For more information please read the cookie statement.

      Privacy Settings

      You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy.

      • Strictly necessary

        They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

      • Analytical cookies

        They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

      • Personalisation cookies

        They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

      • Targeting cookies

        They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.