Help & Support - a quick look

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Parenting a preemie can be tough and it's important to find ways of coping and looking after your own health. It can also make you feel more in control if you can learn some great strategies to help with your prem's learning and development.


Finding a balance and a way forward

Parenting a preemie can be challenging and is a significant life transition. It is important that you find time and ways of taking care of your own health and wellbeing. Eating well, staying fit and healthy, and getting enough rest and relaxation are vital for optimal health. Maintaining and caring for relationships, especially with your partner is also important. If you need it, don't discard the option of professional assistance. Also, find advice about optimizing development and learning strategies to help with thinking & behavior difficulties.

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Optimising social development

Making the most of every opportunity to improve the outcomes of premature infants

Optimising Social Development While Breast Feeding

The impact of parents and your preemie baby’s environment has a great influence on development. Providing a supportive, responsive, and warm environment whilst breastfeeding your preemie can provide opportunities to help them develop socialisation and learning.

Keep in mind too, that you know your baby best and are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, so you are in an ideal position to contribute to your preemie baby’s development. There is plenty of evidence that suggests that parents who provide a stimulating environment for their children do better than those from sensory deprived environments.

The following list provides some tips for optimising social development and learning while breastfeeding:

  • Make sure your premmie feels safe and comfortable; keep them warm and ensure their head is supported and higher than their hips and that they can move their arms
  • Ensure you are both physically connected during the feed by making sure your preemie’s body is touching yours
  • Make eye contact as you start and tell them you're about to feed them
  • Ensure your face is around 20 centimetres from your preemies, aside from when kissing and burping, of course
  • Demonstrate more focus on your preemie while feeding than other people or things round you
  • Smile and gently caress your premmie while feeding
  • Talk about the feed, such as, “Are you hungry?” “Do want to eat now?” “Is that nice?” “Have you had enough for now?”
  • Chatting about general topics is also great for socialisation and language, so make general statements like “Daddy’s outside gardening”, “It’s raining today”, “We will go for a walk to the park later” (Don’t use “baby talk”)
  • Respond with smiles and affection when your baby smiles or babbles
  • Stop feeding if your preemie shows distress and comfort them with a calm, gentle voice and touch, change position if necessary
  • Try not to interrupt your prem’s sucking
  • Stop the feed when your preemie falls off to sleep, pushes away, or turns their head and your attempts to continue are unsuccessful (i.e. repositioning, burping, waiting)
(Barnard, 1994; Zaichkin, 2009)



AlbertEinstein_iconOne of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein was born preterm.

Help us help you!

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Preemie Help is also looking to provide a resource for any professionals that have contact with preterm babies and children in order to help them best understand the challenges that face a preemie. Get in contact to help us impact preemies.

Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 

Read More: Defining Preterm birth



New Release - Preemie Development

All in one easy to read eguide

‘The complete preemie guide to: ‘Preemie development’ is the must have guide to the NICU for new preemie parents.

With an easy-to-read layout this comprehensive guide is over 130 pages of important information about the NICU and your preemie.

Using Adobe’s .pdf format makes the guide usable across a wide range of platforms from ipad to PC, smartphone to macbook.

Packed with extra features like progress charts, NICU checklists and plenty of others. ‘The preemie guide’ is a must for any new parents.