Having a premature or sick baby can be an unsettling time. The joy you feel at giving birth is immediately over-shadowed by uncertainty about how to care for your fragile early arrival. The charity BLISS is committed to improving neonatal care and has launched the 'Going Home Pack', sponsored by Fairy and Pampers. It contains three new booklets that aim to help parents understand how they can care for their baby once at home.
To enable parents to feel more positive and in control of their baby's needs, these booklets have been written in collaboration with the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists Neonatal Group and Dr Maggie Redshaw, a member of the Pampers Institute.
The booklets focus on the development processes of premature and sick babies. The practical information offers step-by-step support to help parents understand the varying and individual needs of their special care baby when they are released from the neonatal ward.
Booklet One - Handle me with care
All babies need a lot of love and care. Premature babies have not experienced the same start in life as most babies, and they need help to make their time in neonatal care a little easier. Like all babies, they depend on caring adults to understand their emotional and physical needs. This booklet covers your baby's physical needs and development during their time on the neonatal unit and once they come home.
Booklet Two - Look at me I'm talking to you!
Your premature baby seems so small and helpless. But the truth is, your baby can already tell you many things and in return, you can communicate messages of love and reassurance to your baby. The booklet helps you understand your baby's behaviour from birth, by observing their body language and reactions. In this way you can get to know your baby, understand their needs, and support your baby's growth and development.
Booklet Three - Going Home
Over the weeks or months that your baby has been on the unit you will have grown used to a high level of support. At home you will be the main person caring for your baby. This booklet looks at the most frequently asked questions and the different stages that you might go through to help prepare you for bringing your baby home from the neonatal unit.
"The booklets help parents to focus attention on their baby as an individual and encourage contact and involvement at an important time when they can feel unsure about their role," says Shanit Marshall at BLISS.
Catherine McGough from Pampers, who sponsored the booklets, comments: "We are constantly committed to understanding babies' needs and these booklets are a great resources for parents as they face the challenges of caring for a premature baby at home."
All booklets will be free of charge to neonatal units in the UK, and are downloadable on the BLISS website www.bliss.org.uk.