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The Preemie Parents' Companion

Susan L Madden

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Reviewed by Allison Martin

In The Preemie Parents' Companion author Susan L. Madden takes the cherished role of an informed friend she guides you from your earliest meeting with your child in the NICU through the transition of your child's first year at home. The first section of the book, "Born Early", is your introduction to the NICU itself - from your first visit and early questions through your adjustment to the various medical routines. It includes a wonderful discussion on parenting in the hospital - with information and emotional support on such important topics as nursing, caring for your baby and your baby's emotional state. The second section, "Coming Home," continues its focus on parenting with topics such as your baby's homecoming, the basics of caring for your premature baby at home, special handling techniques, and feeding. The last section, "As Your Child Grows," provides an overview of key issues for preemies in their early years, along with an up-to-date discussion of Early Intervention programs. The Preemie Parents' Companion concludes with a look at the future with moving quotes by experienced parents from the Preemie Child online support listserv. Growth charts, annotated resources, a detailed bibliography and more round out this useful compendium.

In this parent to parent book, the tone is reassuring, the text flows easily and the unavoidable jargon is minimized and explained. While the enormity of the daunting task of giving birth to a premature child and the traumatic atmosphere of the NICU is acknowledged, Susan Madden guides you gently through the procedures, mindful of your tumultuous feelings each step of the way. The focus on issues central to parenting a preemie makes this book an very important supplement to more traditional baby care books.

Parents new to the NICU and those preparing to come home will benefit tremendously from The Preemie Parents' Companion. I also recommend it highly as an introduction to prematurity for relatives and close friends. This is an excellent guide for parents of preemies who are generally healthy, relatively far along in gestation and larger in size. However, parents of smaller or younger and more at risk preemies will want to supplement this parent centered book with medical text on prematurity and specific information on special needs. Bottom line: A great gift for yourself or the family of a premature baby.

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