One of the greatest fears a pregnant woman has is becoming a premature mother. That’s because having your baby early means the baby will be below birth weight and not have developed as much as required before birth.
But regardless of the precautions every woman takes, a premature birth can happen. Any baby that is born before the 37th week is called a preterm or a premature baby. Due to the great advances in technology, some 9 out of 10 premature babies actually survive, and go on to develop in the normal way.
Now, if we are going to be completely honest, friends and family members rarely ever know what to say to a parent with a premature child. In most cases, they even end up making things worse. So, in this review, we tell you what you shouldn’t tell a mother with a premature baby.
Don’t say “She’s so teeny tiny!”
This could be the first thing on your mind when you see the baby, but refrain and control yourself from saying it. It can actually be jarring to see just how tiny the baby is, and them being hooked up to machines may not make it easy for you to make conversation with the mother, but do not say it.
Consider what the mother is feeling, and you do know that she is thinking the same thing you are. Just skip any topics that have to do with the baby’s size.
Don’t say “At least, anything is better”
There is nothing good about having a child in the hospital, and this is not the time to tell the mother that anything is better than nothing. It doesn’t make sense to them and it shall not work. The mother doesn’t feel lucky that their child is in the hospital.
So, any comments that suggest that there is a silver lining to having their child in the ICU or delivering their baby early can feel pretty insulting at the time. Most of these mothers are not sleeping a wink.
Their breasts are also filled with milk and are probably pumping each hour. They are nervous, uncomfortable and in pain. So, it’s not the right time to tell them anything like this.
You shouldn’t say “Babies need to start fighting some germs.”
When the mother is finally released from the hospital, it is normal for them to be extra careful when caring for their newborn babies. Parents will want to limit the number of people visiting them, and even ensure that everyone washes their hands thoroughly before touching the baby.
As a visitor you should just respect it and not argue or try to give them ideas of how they should raise their baby. Most people will have plenty of opinions about how other people are raising their kids, and in this particular situation, you may think that the parents are being too cautious.
But it’s not in your place. Be as sensitive as possible with the mother of a preterm baby, and do not just say anything that comes to your mind. Respect their options and appreciate them.
Don’t ask any of the following questions
“When will your baby come home? When will your baby add weight? Or when will your baby start to walk?”
When it comes to preterm babies, there are usually no crystal balls and there are usually no clear answers. Most babies should come home eventually when their due date comes but the mothers shouldn’t be bombarded with questions of which they do not have the answers to.
Consider avoiding any of the above topics altogether, and just watch the new parents as they wait for their baby to come home.
Don’t say; “Thank God it’s over!”
Most preterm babies tend to have a lot of other medical related issues, and you should never say thank God it’s over, because you do not know what else the parents are going through.
Parents of premature babies are usually going through an extremely sensitive time, and as a friend, or family members, you should treat them as such. Don’t say any of the things above as they can hurt feelings even if that isn’t your intention.