#NotMatLeave Campaign for Families of Premature Babies

Join thousands of people supporting the #NotMatLeave campaign! 188,000+ people have signed the petition calling upon Government to extend parental leave for families affected by Premature Birth.


Born too soon, babies can spend weeks and months in hospital before their parents can bring them home. Fathers juggle work and family commitments as paternity leave fails to cover the time they need whilst their baby remains in neonatal intensive care; and mothers recovering from the trauma of premature birth wait beside incubators hoping for the precious moment they can hold their child. Time spent watching a tiny baby in neonatal intensive care simply isn’t maternity or paternity leave.

You can support our campaign now by writing to your local MP!

Write to your own local MP, ask them to support The Smallest Things campaign to extend Maternity and Paternity Leave for families affected by premature birth.  You can download a template letter here –

Not sure how to contact you local MP? It’s easy, just follow this link, type in your postcode and you’ll be able to email them directly – www.theyworkforyou.com 


For more information about how to support The Smallest Things campaign and how to arrange a meeting with your local MP, download our Volunteers Pack here – smallest-things-volunteer-pack

Watch and Share! The #NotMatLeave Film

PETITION – “When my first son was born ten weeks early, I had no idea that maternity leave would begin the very next day, months before we would bring him home.

Born too soon, the reality of life in neonatal care is very different from what a mother would usually expect from the early days of maternity leave. Lines, monitors, life support machines and recovery from what is often a traumatic birth. Mothers wait days, if not weeks to hold their babies for the first time and face the agonising journey home without their baby each day. It broke my heart leaving my tiny baby every day and he spent the first months of my maternity leave in hospital.

The very real cost of premature birth is not only measured in terms of financial pressures placed on families, most recent studies suggest it costs in excess of £2,000 for an average NICU stay, but also upon the long term health implications for the mother, with 40% of NICU mums developing postnatal depression following neonatal intensive care and more than half experiencing anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

As a mother I needed time to bond with my tiny baby, time to recover from our traumatic journey and time at home for my baby to grow and develop before I could return to work. 

Extending statutory maternity leave and pay would give mothers the emotional and financial support needed at a time of great stress and trauma – in turn leading to better postnatal health, a more positive return to work and better outcomes for babies development.

We call on Margot James MP and Government colleagues to recognise the significant and unique needs of families with children born prematurely and to extend statutory leave accordingly.”


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