Parent-to-parent - how to ask for help

When your baby is in neonatal care you can experience a whole range of emotions. It's important to remember that you can, and should, ask for help if you need it. Here we share other parents tips on asking for help.

Practical help 

Sarah-Jayne says, “Ask friends and family for practical help. You don't have to do it all.”

Mum and dad sitting in hospital chairs holding a baby twin each smiling at the camera

It’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 eight ways others can lend a hand

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.  

(Anonymous) “When you are suddenly thrust into this terrifying world it is so overwhelming. Talking to a Bliss Champion (volunteer) helped us break down the situation and it was a huge help talking to someone who wasn't using medical jargon.”

Find out if your unit has a Bliss Champion on our online map.

Help coping with things

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

Support

The Bliss helpline

You can speak to someone from Bliss by calling our helpline 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.

Bereavement support

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

Financial support

Many parents also find themselves worrying about money with the extra costs that come with having a baby on the neonatal unit. 

Read our list of useful organisations that can help

Want to read more like this?

Read tips from parents and more in our magazine for parents, Little Bliss
Read Little Bliss online