This week's blog is one close to my heart. My son was born at 36 weeks as a sick newborn. When he was born he spent time in the Special care nursery and at 6 weeks old in the Neonatal Intensive care unit.
I'm now a support worker at Miracle Babies foundation NurtureProgram. It's so rewarding giving back to such a wonderful organisation and to provide advice and support to other families going through similar experiences.
Miracle Babies Foundation is Australia’s leading organisation supporting premature and sick newborns, their families and the hospitals that care for them.
Every year in Australia around 48,000 newborn babies require the help of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Nursery (SCN). 25,000 of these babies are born premature and up to 1000 babies lose their fight for life.
For families, the experience of having a baby come into the world not as expected or planned is life changing. Without support, this overwhelming and traumatic experience can have lifelong effects on the emotional wellbeing of these miracle families.
Since 2005, Miracle Babies Foundation has been passionate in developing and providing vital programs and resources to support and enhance a family’s experience from a threatened pregnancy, hospital journey with a premature or sick newborn, the transition to home and beyond.
Australia is home to 23 state of the art intensive care units designed to meet the unique and critical needs of our earliest and sickest babies. Working with health professionals on the joint agenda of better outcomes for families, Miracle Babies provides informative education and insight on a family’s experience and funding for equipment, resources and research.
Miracle Babies provide so much support when you have an premature or sick newborn, and the support is continued as they grow.
NurtureLine is a free family support helpline catering for families with a threatened pregnancy, the hospital journey with a baby currently in NICU/SCN and the transition to home and onwards.
The Family Helpline is available 7 days a week and is answered by their friendly staff during business hours who can transfer your call to an approved and trained family support volunteer. After hours calls are answered directly by their family support volunteers on a roster system in their own homes.
Extended family and friends are also able to gain support from the friendly and caring volunteers, all who themselves have been through a NICU or SCN experience.
Volunteers are able to listen, share, understand and support families as they too have experienced the guilt, fear, anxiety and isolation of having a baby challenged by prematurity or sickness.
1300 622 243
NurtureLine volunteers are all trained and receive ongoing support from social work and the Foundation.
The Miracle Babies Foundation Induction and Training was developed in conjunction with Miracle Babies and the NSW TAFE, Social Faculty, Bankstown Campus. Volunteers are also familiar with information from the website and can guide families how to access further information when required.
Volunteers are not medically trained and cannot give medical advice. If you have a medical issue we suggest you contact your local hospital Emergency Department or visit your General Practitioner for advice and referral. If your call is not appropriate for our volunteer's level of training, you will be given details of other helplines or organisations who may be able to assist you better.
NurtureTime in-hospital support is facilitated by caring parents who themselves have experienced the birth of premature or sick newborn.
Qualified NurtureTime Volunteers visit the hospital to offer support, guidance and hope. Parents, family and friends can ask questions, share their thoughts and feelings’ knowing the volunteer has a shared experience.
With over 18 hospital locations all over Australia, you can be sure to receive the support you need.
Volunteers work closely with the social work and nursing departments and are available for one-on-one or group support on-site in the NICU, Special Care Nursery, Antenatal and Maternity wards.
Part of a Miracle Babies Volunteer role at NurtureTime is to encourage the family to ask questions and be involved in baby’s care whilst in the NICU. Tips and suggestions may be discussed regarding coping with the experience and accepting all help and support the hospital can offer, including social work, lactation consultants, nurses and allied health.
NurtureGroups are free play and support groups for families who have experienced the birth of a premature or sick newborn. They welcome all NICU and SCN families.
They offer a safe and secure environment for children 0 to 6 years who have been challenged by prematurity or sickness in which they can learn and develop through play, using toys and activities that have been recommended by therapists to help advance physical development. NurtureGroup offers families ongoing parent support after leaving the safety of a NICU/SCN.
Parents and carers can exchange ideas on parenting, tackle medical issues, share stories, build support networks, form friendships and ease the isolation that can often be felt by families of premature and sick newborns.
Health professionals in maternal and child health fields attend NurtureGroups intermittently to provide information, assistance and expert advice of the children's development. Professionals may include Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Dietetics, Social Work, Psychology, Nursing and more.
NurtureGroup sessions are managed by an appointed NurtureGroup Coordinator who is also an approved Miracle Babies Foundation parent support volunteer. NurtureGroup sessions are held fortnightly except during the school holidays and attendance is free. Session duration is generally for 2hrs.
A general Miracle Babies Foundation NurtureGroup session will include time for: