I am worried about childcare costs for my other children

If you have other children, having a baby on a neonatal unit it can make it difficult to manage your childcare arrangements at home. This can cause unexpected costs and have an impact on your finances. Find out more below.

Or take a step back to explore I'm worried about taking time off work and loss of income.

How can I manage childcare costs while my baby is in hospital?

Having your baby in hospital for any length of time may have reduced your income if you're not working, which then affects your ability to pay for childcare such as nursery fees for older children.

If you're struggling to pay nursery or childminder fees because of a loss of income it might be worth talking to the nursery or childminder about the situation as you may be able to agree a temporary reduction in hours or fees.

You might need to pay for childcare for the first time while your baby is in hospital. There are some childcare benefits and other help for working parents in Northern Ireland. The NI Direct website can help you work out what you might be entitled to.

Check with your employer for any benefits

Some employers offer emergency childcare as part of their employment terms and conditions. You may be entitled to unpaid leave for childcare, so this may be another option for you to consider.

You can have a chat with your line manager or HR team at work to find out more, if you're unsure about any of this.

Ask friends or family to support with childcare

It may be that you have friends and family that want to help you but are not sure what you most need.

They may be able to help look after your older children, if you are comfortable with this. It could be as little or as often as you need and what suits you and your children best.

They might be able to pick up your children from school and cook dinners for them, or take them to their after school clubs so their normal routine stays the same as much as possible. Sometimes even an hour after school one or two nights a week can really help.

You might be able to cancel or pause any formal childcare for a short time to save money whilst family and friends help out.

Helping your older children to cope with the change

It can be tricky for older brothers and sisters to understand what is going on. And it's often challenging for you to divide your time between hospital and home.

There's some useful advice on the Great Ormond Street website that might be helpful for this, and help you as you work out what childcare is best for your family.

I would like to talk to someone at Bliss

We are here to help you with emotional and practical support.

Get in touch at hello@bliss.org.uk

We are here Monday to Friday, except bank holidays.