Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can my older children have their friends round?

    While it is important for your older children to maintain routines and friendships, in the early weeks you may wish to limit visitors to your home. Ask children to wash their hands when they come in to your home. You should try to avoid contact with children with cold-like symptoms (such as a runny nose, sneezing or feeling generally unwell) or who have had a stomach upset. In the early days it may be a good idea for only those closest to you to hold your baby.
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  • When can I feed my baby solids?

    Advice relating to weaning premature babies onto solid foods remains inconsistent. It is best to speak to your health visitor. Some tips around weaning and readiness for weaning are provided below.
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  • Has my baby suffered from a bad birth experience?

    Some parents worry about the impact of premature birth, traumatic birth and the experience in neonatal intensive care on their baby’s wellbeing. We don’t fully understand what babies actually experience physically and emotionally around the time of birth; however, we do know that one of the most critical ways of helping a premature baby deal with stress is through their relationship with their parents. Research has shown that the best way to promote a baby’s health and wellbeing including brain development is through the relationship with the main caregiver. It is important to remember that your parenting right now is helping your baby know that the world can be a safe place.
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    This can sometimes be more difficult if you are feeling traumatised by you or your partner’s birth experience or your babies experience in neonatal intensive care and it may be helpful to talk to someone about how you are feeling.
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  • Was the premature birth my fault and could I have done anything differently to prevent the early birth?

    It’s not always possible to explain why preterm birth happens. There are known risk factors for being born early; infection, pre-eclampsia, placental problems, genetic problems, multiple pregnancies and lifestyle factors, but in many cases the cause is unknown. The website gives advice on the causes of prematurity and what steps you can take to reduce your risk of premature birth in the future. | pregnancy-information

  • What practical and financial help is available to me and my family?

    TinyLife are able to provide excellent support and advice to parents in Northern Ireland via their family support officers. You are very likely to have met your family support officer in the neonatal unit and they can be contacted at the TinyLife office . There are also many other organisations who can offer you support and advice on a whole range of financial and practical issues.
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  • How do I know my premature baby is reaching their milestones?

    Milestones are signposts for when to expect babies and children to do new things. New skills that babies and children develop (reflecting the growth and development of their brains and bodies) usually emerge in a similar pattern and within a typical age range. These are called developmental “milestones”. Remember to use your baby’s corrected gestational age when comparing your baby’s development to these general guidelines. Your baby’s healthcare team will follow their development and share their assessments with you so that together you can help your baby grow and develop. If you have concerns about your baby’s development you should discuss this with your baby’s healthcare team. Babies and children who do not reach developmental milestones at the usual times may perform the skills a little later, or they may need additional help or/and support. It is important to focus on your baby’s progress rather than the age at which they meet certain developmental milestones.
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  • What should I do if the links on the website don’t work when I press them?

    If you find that the link on the webpage doesn’t open when you click on it or states that ‘This page can’t be displayed’ try refreshing the page in a few minutes first. If this doesn’t work, then look for the page on a search engine such as Google – for example if the broken link is then type in until you find the website home address for NHS Choices. Then type breastfeeding and diet in the search box to find the web page.
    You can also contact TinyLife to inform them that the link is not opening.