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Prematurity

Having a baby is a very exciting time so it can be tricky when your baby is born early. Roughly 1 in 8 babies is born early.

While your baby is in neonatal care, you are likely to have a number of different emotions which can be difficult to deal with. These emotions can continue once you are discharged home. This can be an anxious time for you and your family but there is a lot of support available to help you with this journey.

Babies that are born early or have complications at birth can take a little longer to reach developmental milestones. This is because they are younger - your health professional will correct their age when assessing their growth and development.

Things You Can Do to Help

  • Talk and listen. Although your baby is still little, they love to hear your voice. Chat, read books and listen to any of their responses
  • While your baby is in hospital, make sure you look after yourselves. Go home and get some rest and make sure you’ve had something to eat/drink - you are just as important as your baby!
  • If you are able, skin to skin is the best way to interact with your baby, even if it is only for a few minutes at a time
  • Sleep with an item of clothing or a toy. You can then give this to your baby to feel comforted by your smell when you have to leave them

Who Can Help?

Your health visitor is able to complete an assessment of your child and refer to other services as needed, including: community paediatrician, speech and language therapy, hearing assessment, and vision assessment.

You can also contact the team at other times if you have any questions or concerns. You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.


Norfolk Healthy Child Programme works with partners to provide Nurture Groups. Nurture Groups offer a course welcoming any babies (under 6 months) and families who have spent time on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU). The group provides the opportunity for parents to meet others who have had a similar experience. *Leaflet Available to Download Below* These are held at:

  • North Walsham - 01263 721746
  • King's Lynn -  01553 668505
  • Long Stratton - 01508 536399
  • Hamlet Centre, Norwich - 01603 766566

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