Help for Preemie Parents
Let me first start this blog by saying that the NICU staff at both hospitals the girls spent time in are incredible at what they do. They made sure our girls were taken care of and received the best care possible and for that I will be forever grateful.
The hospital that the girls were born in and called home for four days had amazing resources and support workers. Maybe it’s because they specialize in preemies and know just how much help parents need right away as well as after their little ones head home. Whatever the reason, they were always there for answers and had a great follow up program.
The local hospital where the girls called home for more than a month had posters and pamphlets galore and lactation consultants and paediatricians available if needed. If you ever had questions, someone was there with an answer.
One thing I must admit though, is that finding help and resources once the girls came home was no easy task. The support staff was gone and so were all of the helpful tools and tips that I’d grown so accustomed to having at my fingertips..
Quickly more questions arose and I didn’t know where to turn for answers.
Their daily pediatric visits were now monthly check-ups with their GP and even less often with their pediatrician. I no longer had the hospital’s lactation consultants with me and I had so many questions and issues when it came to breastfeeding and no one to turn to.
Some hospitals offer follow up screenings to ensure that your preemie(s) are developing at the right pace. The hospital where the girls were born had this type of follow up, but since they were discharged and spent the majority of their time at the local hospital, those screenings weren’t offered.
I had so many questions and no where to turn for answers, or so I thought.
I started putting my feelers out on Facebook and found some amazing support groups for parents of multiples and parents of preemies. What a world of difference! Through these groups I was able to turn to others with my questions. I wasn’t getting medical opinions but some great advice from others who had been in my shoes or were going through it as well.
I even found my amazing lactation consultant in one of the groups who offered me great support and guidance.
Another great piece of advice I received was from a friend of mine who works for the region where I live. She mentioned some great services provided (free of charge) to parents of preemies. Every four months the girls go to a screening session where they demonstrate their motor skills (basically they play and are observed) to make sure their growing and learning as they should be. This is a program that was never mentioned to me in hospital and I’m not sure why. Maybe I didn’t ask the right questions, but whatever the reason I’m so glad to have learned about it. I’m not sure if it’s offered in all areas but it’s definitely worth looking in to.
So to those parents out there who feel like they have no where to turn for answers my advice would be:
1) Search out others who are in the same situation as you are and stick together for help and advice. Even if they don’t have all of the answers they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
2) Look into what resources are available where you live. Try different search engines and contact the region. Whether it’s a weekly drop in centre or specialized screenings, there’s a lot of resources to help you in different ways (and most of them are free!)
There’s power in numbers so seek out others who can relate. Preemies are a whole different ballgame and getting the help, advice and support you need can make a world of difference.