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Parent-to-parent: asking for help


When your baby is in neonatal care you can experience a whole range of emotions. It’s important to remember however you’re feeling is okay and that you can, and should, ask for help if you need it. Here we share some tips on asking for help from parents who have been where you are now. This story was originally shared in our free magazine for families, Little Bliss

Practical help

Sarah-Jayne says: "Ask friends and family for practical help. You donIt’s okay to accept help – in fact, those around you may be wondering what they can do for you. You could ask for help running errands or babysitting other children, help with keeping others updated about your baby’s progress, or you could ask for space to be alone with your baby – many parents need this. 

Holly says, “Each time someone visited we felt drained. It zapped our energy ensuring they followed all of the rules. We spent a lot of time feeling guilty about turning down people for visiting but we needed the space.”

Read about eight ways to help someone with a baby in neonatal care

Help to understand the situation

Sarah says, “Ask one of the nurses involved in the baby's care to explain things to you. They were so good at repeating themselves as we weren't able to absorb much information in the early days. They had so much patience with us.”

It’s okay to ask health professionals the same question again or to ask them to use other words to explain something. If you’re not sure what to ask but you’d like to understand your baby’s situation better, you could ask what you baby’s medications are called and what they are used for, why your baby does certain things, how to make your baby most comfortable or if you can check their notes or call the hospital at any time. 

Talk to a Bliss champion

Ask the staff at your unit if you have a Bliss Champion and when they visit.

Help coping with things

Mark says: "You can lose the plot and sob uncontrollably - that

It’s okay to need a bit of emotional support when your baby is in hospital, and there’s lots of help available.

You can speak to someone from Bliss by calling 0808 801 0322 or emailing hello@bliss.org.uk. And if English isn’t your first language we can connect you to interpreters speaking over 200 languages.

If you need bereavement support, Sands is here for you as well. You can speak to someone by calling the helpline on 0808 164 3332 or emailing helpline@uk-sands.org.uk

Many parents also find themselves worrying about money with the extra costs that come with having a baby on the neonatal unit. For potential travel and accommodation support, you can visit the PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Services) department at the hospital. Alternatively, there is an organisation called Turn2Us where you can apply for benefits and grants depending on your situation. 

You can find out more about the support above and an extensive list of useful organisations here.

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