Parent-to-parent: supporting your partner

Isla 2

Being a parent of a premature or sick baby on the neonatal unit is an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes, you may wonder what to do, how to feel and how to handle it all. Here, parents tell us what their partner did or could have done to help support them.


"Talk to each other about anything and everything. Pay attention to your partner. If they are quiet, say 'talk to me' and allow them to feel what they need to feel."

Acknowledge the good times

"It's important for both of you to find a positive and focus on small improvements such as weight gain or a reduction in oxygen requirements, when you can. It's okay to feel happy and laugh at something funny (for instance, nappy explosions!) Staying positive is key."

Make an effort

“My partner hates hospitals. However, he pushed through the phobia and came each day to care for our daughter. When I became too ill to be there he took the day off work and went to the unit in my place.”

Talk about your feelings

"Both of you are going to feel strong emotions that can be hard to handle, so it's important to give each other the time to feel those emotions and not over-analyse each other's words and reactions to different situations. Allow your partner to feel what they need to feel."

Check in with each other

"I wish my partner would have text me during the day to check in on me and the baby when he was at work, or made me a lunch when preparing his. These gestures would have helped immensely, both physically and emotionally."

Acknowledge the journey

"Document your baby's journey through photos and a diary so you can look back at how far they have come. It keeps you and your partner optimistic in the process."