Your beautiful grandchild has arrived. But he or she was born prematurely or is sick, and needs special care. Your joy over your grandchild's birth may be mixed with worry about her health. You also may be concerned about how your son or daughter is coping with the baby's stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The birth of a premature or sick baby is stressful and difficult for all family members, including grandparents. But keep in mind that, in recent years, there have been great advances in caring for babies who were born too small and too soon or sick. The outlook for your grandchild is likely to be far better than it would have been just a generation ago.
As a parent and a grandparent, you have a very important role during this time. Whether you live nearby or far away, there are things you can do to help support the new parents while their baby is in the NICU. These suggestions may help make this difficult time a bit easier for you and your family.
You may feel some conflicting emotions after your grandchild is born. All of the feelings listed below are normal and many grandparents experience at least some of them. As your grandchild gets stronger, some of the negative feelings may lessen.
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© 2009 March of Dimes Foundation. All rights reserved. The March of Dimes is a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). Our mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.