Dr. Melnyk shares long-term advice with parents caring for premature babies.
I think what’s most important is they keep talking to each other about what each other is feeling. A lot of times one parent tries to have a stiff upper lip and really try to have a lot of courage and not want to break down and share the fact that they are on an emotional roller coaster. It’s important that we are just honest and that parents are transparent with one another about what they are feeling and what they are experiencing, and that they listen to one another.
You have to remember, too, this birth of a premature infant is going to have an impact for quite a long time after the birth. So it’s important, even though parents want to be with that baby, usually day and night, while they are in the hospital, it’s critically important that they take care of themselves. They let other people help to take care of them.
If you have a neighbor, a sister, a friend, who wants to do some cooking for you, by all means, let them do that. If you feel like taking a nap in the middle of the day, absolutely you want to go ahead and take the nap. Again, if you are more rested physically and you are feeling better emotionally you are going to be able to cope and help your baby more through this very fragile time.
About Dr. Melnyk, Ph.D., R.N.:
Dr. Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, Ph.D., R.N., is Dean and Distinguished Foundation Professor in Nursing at the Arizona State University College of Nursing & Health Innovation. She is noted for her dedication to improving the health of children and teens, educational and research innovation, interdisciplinary healthcare, and evidence-based practice to deliver quality patient outcomes.
Dr. Melnyk earned a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree from the West Virginia University School of Nursing, a Master’s of Science in nursing with a specialization in nursing care of children as a pediatric nurse practitioner from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in clinical nursing research from the University of Rochester (New York). She also has completed her post-master’s certificate as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.