What can Aunts and Uncles do to help you?
Your babies aunts and uncles can be of some help. Of course your partner's side of their family are also the aunt and uncle to the baby but in laws to you, making for a possible support angle that may include a role as secondary line of babysitting in you have previous children. If the babies aunts and uncles have kids around the ages of your previous kids then a babysitting role would naturally fit. For any other activities, we feel it's best not to bother them with task as younger people generally have busy lives. Below we have tips to guide you in selecting out things to ask of your babies aunts and uncles!
So what can aunts and uncles do?
We do have a few ideas for you to include your baby's aunts and uncles in your support team. In laws and cousins that are close in relationship can also work so interchange the role if necessary. The relative ages to aunts and uncles can be much nearer to the nicu parents ages, so an ear to hear you out may be better for some parents who need someone who isn't a nicu affiliated person to talk to. Sometimes you just need to someone who has a long track record with you to talk to so you can ease up your tensions you've made in the nicu. Also the ages of your surrounding family will probably have children of various ages and these families can be great for babysitting if you have previous children to your nicu baby! If your baby's grandparents are not in the picture or are not able to watch your other children, then aunts and uncles can be a great secondary choice to watch them while the nicu parents are in the nicu. Of course we're assuming a lot here, if you don't have any other children or you live somewhere away from any family then choose someone you know well enough to assume these roles.
*Also, we no not recommend you use your friends to babysit. A nicu family builds stress very easily and sometimes a child can get very hostile with other kids if the right situation is had, so to make sure there isn't any problems, we tell preemie parents to keep their other children with family or professional help like daycare workers or other childcare facilities while the parents are in the nicu!
What if an aunt or uncle doesn't want to help directly?
You can't be pushy and force anyone to help you. We always will ask you to seek volunteers who know your needs. If an aunt or uncle or anyone really, doesn't want to be directly involved then we do have a few ways to help. 1. They can give you money or buy you things to help you! 2. They can give you things or let you borrow things when they had children. Of course we would like to offer any nicu parents to take our courses here at the preemie paradox so aunts and uncles can pay for our premium preemie courses. Any gift ideas can be paid for by and aunt or uncle who would rather thrown money at your problems rather than help directly. We suggest gas cards or food gift cards for restaurants in the area of the nicu the parents baby is in for the parents. Money can fix money problems so make sure to add these financial recommendations to your list to show your support team.
What about non nicu issues?
Your baby's aunt or uncle can help you in a much overseen area to nicu care. Normally when a woman is expecting a baby, her friends take it upon themselves to throw their friend a baby shower. This shower is an event that lets them "shower" their friend with gifts and foods. Unfortunately some moms go into labor early and have their baby in the nicu. Since the baby was already born the friends feel they shouldn't have the shower to keep from making their friend sad. So many times a mom is robbed of her baby shower. An aunt or family friend can take up this role of party planner and give the nicu mm a proper shower anyways! This shower can be a great lifting of emotions for the mom who's had to leave her baby in the nicu.
The Aunt and Uncle Problem:
Unfortunately your baby's Aunt or Uncle can get left out of any of your nicu experiences. We understand that the nicu is not the kind of place you just want to tell everyone about. As they do get left out, they feel uninvolved so the aunt and uncles just fade back and rarely inquire about how the nicu parents are doing. Giving the aunt and uncle something to do is a way of letting them feel they're being a part of your child's life! Your baby's aunt and uncle can be a great support when they know your problems and feel they can help.
Make sure to ask your baby's aunts and uncles what they would like to do to help. This way they can help in their own way. We recommend they give you money or buy you gift cards to places around your nicu and gas cards for travel back and forth to the nicu. Put the aunt to work getting you a baby shower and the uncle working on a gift that is unique to his skill! Just make sure to include the aunts and uncles that you chose to be in your baby's life!
Aunts and Uncles can be great but what if they are not so good?
We're assuming you are in a good relationship and in close proximity to your baby's aunts and uncles when we write these recommendations. Here below we want to give you our list of what we have had our listeners experience when including their baby's aunts and uncles. We hope that our list of pros and cons can help you in your situation. Also understand that some situations can't be avoided and outcomes may differ between people so some of our lists may need your discretion to decide if the pro or con will work out for your situational needs.
In closing, we believe you can include your baby's aunts and uncles in your support team. Just make sure they volunteer and are willing and able to carry out the task or duty they decided on from your list we described in the sections above and from the selecting your support team webpage. We want every preemie parent to have a great support team to help them through this troubling time when their baby is in the nicu.