What is World Prematurity Day and when is it?
World Prematurity Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of premature birth and its sometimes devastating impact on families. It takes place on 17th November 2023 and is a global movement to spark conversations about premature birth and the hurdles babies and parents face and overcome.
How you can get involved with World Prematurity Day
This year, Bliss
– the charity for babies born premature or sick – asks anyone impacted by prematurity to share their stories. Whether it’s parents, family members, friends, or healthcare professionals (essentially anyone touched by the needs of premature babies), Bliss wants everyone to share their story using the social media hashtag #MyNeonatalStory and show families in neonatal care they’re not alone. There are other ways to get involved with World Prematurity Day, including organised events, fundraising at home, and fundraising in your community; find out more about World Prematurity Day events.
You are not alone – premature baby statistics
Each neonatal experience will affect families differently, but one thing is for sure – you are not alone. Approximately 15 million babies are born prematurely every year, with around 60,000 babies born prematurely in the UK each year. That’s one in every 13 babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. An essential element of World Prematurity Day is talking about the impact of this openly, and offering support to those who need it.
How to support yourself if your baby is premature
Whatever stage of your journey, having a baby born prematurely can be overwhelming, and many parents struggle with their mental health during this challenging time. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone and that it’s okay not to be okay. Being kind to yourself is vital, and knowing that how you feel day to day might change. Opening up to a trusted family member, friend, or medical staff is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes courage and strength to admit how you’re genuinely feeling and ask for help if needed.
There are many different options depending on the type of support you need, whether it’s someone to listen to how you’re feeling, or a professional trained in helping parents dealing with a premature birth. We’ve listed some excellent organisations further down this blog post that you might find helpful.
How to support a loved one if their baby is premature
Knowing how best to support a loved one who has a premature baby can be difficult as it’s understandably a very emotional time. One of the best ways to support them is to give them the space to talk about how they’re feeling and let them know you’re there to listen if they want to open up. Sometimes, people aren’t looking for a solution, just a listening ear and a safe space. If you think it might be helpful, you could point them in the right direction of appropriate resources, should they need further help (we’ve listed these further down this blog post).
Thoughtful gifts of support for parents of premature babies
If you know a loved one who is the parent of a premature baby, a beautiful idea is buying a practical gift or a symbol of the strong sense of love during this time.
These are a few thoughtful ideas:
Bright Blooms – a beautiful bouquet of flowers that will brighten up any room.
Baby Milestone Cards
– these are a cute way of documenting a premature baby’s important life events, with milestones such as “Today was my due date”, “Today I had my eyes checked,” “Today I’m going home.” For each set of these milestone cards sold by Little Mouse
, they donate £2 to Tommy’s
, the premature baby charity.
Hospital Care Packages – parents of premature babies can have long days in the hospital and naturally feel exhausted, so thoughtful care packages would be a lovely idea. It could be anything from their favourite snacks to a packed lunch, comfy leisurewear, or a soft and cosy jumper. Even practical items like phone chargers, headphones, and overnight toiletries would be appreciated by parents. Premature baby bodysuits and sleepsuits – there are some gorgeous bodysuits and sleepsuits specially designed for premature babies. Some even have spaces built-in for medical equipment and thoughtful details like enclosed toe seams to stop loose thread ends wrapping around tiny toes.
– our Print Starter Kit
is a beautiful way to take handprints and footprints of a newborn. The kit makes a lovely gift on its own, but it also gives the parents an option to do something with the prints later on, should they wish to.
Baby Handprint or Footprint Jewellery
– capturing those newborn handprints and footprints to treasure forever is incredibly special. Our Handprint and Footprint Collection
offers different options for parents of newborns, including necklaces, bracelets, cufflinks, beads and a range of gifts.
Further help and resources
– for babies born premature or sick. This charity offers support via email, video call and many other options throughout a parent’s journey.
– one of the largest charities in the UK carrying out research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
– a support service for families suffering prenatal, antenatal and postnatal mental illnesses.
– the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby.
Birth Trauma Association
– offers support for women who have had a traumatic birth experience and support for families also affected.
Mothers for Mothers
– services for mothers suffering from anxiety, depression, loneliness, fear or isolation during or after pregnancy.
Mental health helplines
– a list of mental health helplines from different organisations, collected together by NHS Choices.