Pizza nights to help support fathers of premature and sick babies

Dr Bob Budd, a clinical psychologist working on the NNUH NICU. Photo: NNUH

Dr Bob Budd, a clinical psychologist working on the NNUH NICU. Photo: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

Fortnightly pizza nights are to be held to encourage fathers of premature or poorly babies not to 'tough it out' and seek help.

It is just one of the new ways Dr Bob Budd, a clinical psychologist on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), is hoping to reach parents in those traumatic first months.

Dr Budd has begun working closely with staff and the family care team to help enhance the care provided on the unit.

The new role, which has been funded through charitable funds, will also provide extra support for staff working in the department.

Dr Budd said there was lots of great support already for parents on NICU.

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However, amongst the new ideas he is introducing, he has recently started a fortnightly get together for dads on Wednesday evenings to meet for a pizza and a chat.

He said: 'A lot of dads can be quite stoic and they think that they need to tough it out and try their best not to be emotional because they are supporting their partner.

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'However, it is really helpful to parents if they communicate about how they are feeling.

'It is a more relaxed time in the evening on the ward, and it is easier to have conservations about their feelings and experiences; conversations which they can hopefully continue with their partners.'

Dr Budd said: 'The family care team and staff do a fantastic job supporting families in all manner of ways, and everyone has been very positive about my role here.

'It is a stressful environment for families to come into - it's not a normal or expected experience to be living on a ward for the first few months after the birth of your baby, and there is a lot to juggle practically, let alone to carry the uncertainty and worry of having a baby who needs extra support.'

'If we can help care for parents as well as their babies, they leave hospital feeling more confident and less overwhelmed.

'This leads to more successful emotional and physical outcomes for families when they get home, and that means less time in need of specialist care.'

For more information on the work of the N&N Hospitals Charity, visit

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