For premature babies these milestones, that we sometimes take for granted, can seem like immense mountains to climb
Today, November 17th, marks ‘World Prematurity Day’. For the 11th year running, this day internationally aims to raise awareness of the difficulties and challenges that this particularly vulnerable group of babies, and their families, face. Premature means that the baby makes an early entrance into the world before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. In Ireland nearly 4500 little babies are born prematurely, and around the globe it’s close to 150 million infants.
Having a full-term healthy and well baby is a challenge in itself. However, it is important to shine a spotlight on the amazing work that is being done to care for the tiniest little people. Witnessing the superb staff in the neonatal intensive care and special care baby units throughout the country and throughout the world is breath-taking.
As a midwife, helping to care for these beautiful little babies left me constantly in awe of their fighting spirit and the utter love, devotion and strength of their parents and families.
The Irish Neonatal Health Alliance (INHA) are a brilliant charity that work incredibly hard to not only support families with premature babies, but advocate on behalf of them to increase awareness, to educate, to empower and ultimately improve and standardise the best possible care for these tiny tots. The INHA raises money for research and provide education for both parents and healthcare professionals. Their brilliant aim is that neonates are provided with the right care, at the right time in the right place. Ultimately, regardless of where you are born prematurely in Ireland, the goal is that you will get the same gold standard of care as seen in the best units in the world.
With full term babies milestones such as the first time they are held in your arms, the first time they taste milk or the first time they open their eyes usually takes place immediately after birth. For premature babies these milestones, that we sometimes take for granted, can seem like immense mountains to climb. However, once your special little ‘preemie’ gets there, and achieves their ‘Milestone’, as a parent you know that great progress is being made.
The Irish Neonatal Health Alliance (INHA) highlights the charities ‘Milestone Cards’ initiative supported by WaterWipes to mark today’s 11thglobal World Prematurity Day, which aims to raise awareness of the challenges these babies and their families face. These cards reflect the small but amazing steps that premature babies take. This will allow parents to mark and chart their little baby’s progress. Each specially designed card reflects a significant and important stage or milestone to show a baby’s development, but also acts as a tangible positive thing for families to focus on. They can hopefully give parents a small boost in what can be an agonizing process. What’s even better, with the support of WaterWipes, these cards will be provided totally free of charge in every unit in the country, for every single baby. They can also be downloaded from the INHA website. (link at the end)
Mandy Daly, Health Director of Advocacy & Policy Irish Neonatal Health Alliance Making in the INHA said.
“The charity was established and has grown out of the experiences of parents and their desire to provide more support to other parents taking the same journey. Many parents of premature babies have remarked that it is often the most simplest things that give the greatest joy and it is through WaterWipes’ support and understanding we were able to create these special and empowering ‘Milestone Cards”.
People will be familiar with the quality of WaterWipes as the worlds purest baby wipe. However, what people might not know about this Irish company is that because of their purity they are suitable for use on tiny premature babies. WaterWipes are made using just 99.9% water and a drop of fruit extract, a natural skin conditioner with anti-microbial properties. Therefore, it was a very natural fit for them to get behind and support the wonderful Irish Neonatal Health Alliance on World Prematurity Day.
Ailbhe O’Briain from WaterWipes, commenting on the ‘Milestone Cards’ initiative said,
As an Irish company it is with great pride that we support a charity such as the INHA. World Prematurity Day marks a very important moment to recognise the rollercoaster of emotions that all parents experience while their precious little ones are being cared for in Neonatal Intensive Care Units across Ireland and indeed the world. As the world’s purest baby wipes we understand just how special and delicate all babies are so it was a real pleasure to partner with INHA to create these Milestone Cards. The feedback from parents has been really wonderful with many parents displaying the cards with pride while babies are being cared for in hospital and then keeping them as a precious lifelong memento
As a midwife I am amongst numerous healthcare professionals to recommend WaterWipes professionally, but as a mother who regularly uses them, I truly believe in this product. They are the only wipe approved by Allergy UK, they are registered by the Vegan Society, accredited by the US National Eczema Association and best of all (!) are made in my home county of Louth.
The statistics are stark: 1 in 10 babies in Ireland will be born prematurely. Many will arrive as a very frightening and worrying surprise to their families. However, with WaterWipes' supporting the fantastic work by the Irish Neonatal Health Alliance, their journeys will hopefully be eased, ever so slightly, by having these lovely ‘Milestone Cards’. They will enable families to have positive , tangible evidence of how far their beautiful little humans have come. On this World Prematurity Day lets reflect and think of all of the brilliant work that is being done to raise awareness for the all-too-familiar fact of a baby being #borntoosoon.
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