Premature Baby Stories

Giraffe Stories

Hear From the Experts

Premature birth isn't something that you'd typically plan for but it helps to know that, should you experience it, there are experts trained to help both you and your baby.  

Q: Why are so many pieces of medical equipment necessary? What does it do?

A: You'll see various pieces of equipment in the NICU, each designed to help with your baby's care, such as breathing, feeding, medicines and temperature. There are also monitors that keep track of your baby's vital signs, such as its heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. You may hear many alarms from these monitors, but don't worry: the nurses and doctors in the NICU are trained to know when and how to respond. Even small changes, such as the baby's movement, can often make the alarms sound. To find out more details on ways the equipment can support your baby, please visit our Preemie Care Explorer page and ask your baby's nurse.

Q: Can I touch or hold my baby?

A: This depends on your baby's unique needs. Most babies benefit from being held and from their parents' touch. At first though, some babies may not be able to be moved too much because they are sensitive to handling light and sound which may cause sensory overload. As soon as your baby is ready, the baby's nurse or doctor will show you the best way to touch and hold your baby. Nurses and doctors can also show you how to know when your baby is ready to be handled.

Q: I have twins, why are they in separate incubators, and can they be put in the same one?

A: There are various health reasons why separate incubators are used. For example, infection, temperature instability between two babies sharing an incubator, prevention of sleep disturbances, and differing levels of medication that may be required are all reasons for separate units being used.

Q: Are there any local support groups I can join? Where can I find support groups?

A: In recent years, many local support groups have been set up for parents of premature babies. Nurses and staff within your local NICU will be able to provide information to help you find local support groups, where you can talk to parents who have been through similar experiences. National and international charities have been set up to care for the needs of premature babies and their families, and many of these have information and support lines. There is also a growing online community of parents and family members who blog about their experiences from across the world, so even someone who lives far away but has had a similar experience to you may be able to provide support.