Practical tips for surviving the baby unit

The best thing you can do for your baby is to look after yourself. That way, you will be better equipped to handle the challenges that face you and your family. Help is at hand from many sources - family, friends and the healthcare team in the special care baby unit - so don't be afraid to ask for what you need.

The first few days, weeks or months with your premature baby can be extremely tough - especially if he is very little or is unwell. Below, you'll find some practical tips to help you get through it. You'll also need to take care of your emotional health.

Although you may not be able to meet all of your baby's needs at this time, she needs you. Your first priority must be to make sure that you are as healthy and well as possible, so you have the emotional and physical strength to be there for her. This is not always easy if you are feeling extremely low or constantly anxious. It's easy to forget about yourself, but even if you feel as if nothing matters apart from your baby, it's important to ensure you have enough:

  • rest
  • baths or showers
  • fresh clothes
  • good food
  • fluids to prevent you becoming dehydrated.

These will all play their part in helping you feel stronger and more able to cope.