Here at Smartgroup, we’re always on the lookout for charitable organisations that make a true and lasting difference to people’s lives. That’s why we were so thrilled to be contacted by Miracle Babies, asking for the Smartgroup Foundation’s help to support its program, NurtureTime.
Each year, more than 48,000 babies are born that require specialised care (an average of 132 a day). Of these, more than 27,000 are born premature - with one in four pre-term babies suffering from Cerebral Palsy.
Tragically, about 1,000 babies needing specialised care do not survive each year.
Miracle Babies Foundation was formed by a group of Mums in the Sydney South-West, all of whom had experienced the birth of a premature or sick baby. They identified gaps in the health system and have been working since 2005 toward a vision of ‘better, healthier outcomes for newborns and their families challenged by prematurity or sickness.’
It has since spread to NICUs across the country, offering help and resources to both educate and community-build. Continued expansion of the services and resources across Australia are all developed by parents and provide peer emotional support through a shared experience.
The team at Miracle Babies told us just how terrifying it is to have a premature or sick baby needing treatment at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Nursery (SCN).
Having managed to get through what is often a deeply traumatic birth, parents then face the NICU, which is full of machines, alarms, and stringent hygiene protocols. Babies are often on ventilators, need feeding tubes, and face (potentially many) specialised surgical procedures.
And their parents can’t feed, hold or cuddle their babies on their first day. Instead, it might be days or weeks before they get the chance.
It’s a time of extreme stress and anxiety, and fear and worry often lead to depression or PTSD.
The Smartgroup Foundation is thrilled to help Miracle Babies deliver its program NurtureTime at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick.
NurtureTime is designed to offer critical in-hospital peer support to families. A NurtureProgram Support Worker and volunteers (who themselves have experienced the birth of a premature or sick baby) aim to visit each week to offer help, guidance and hope.
Families can talk about what they’re experiencing and how they’re feeling and ask questions of people they know have gone through it too.
The program also offers educational resources compiled by parents and healthcare professionals. Included are six bi-monthly information sessions covering topics like coping in the NICU, community and support services, and mental health awareness.
Studies have shown that the peer support provided by programs like NurtureTime lead to reduced anxiety and depression in parents. This then helps them provide the best possible care to their children, leading to improved long-term outcomes for the whole family.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it’s been difficult for Miracle Babies to deliver its NurtureTime program at times. The delicate nature of hospital visits during the pandemic has meant the support team could not deliver this in person. During these times the Foundation has offered online sessions and also saw increased calls to the 24-hour family support helpline.
Miracle Babies is now back working with the hospital delivering NurtureTime to families, and thanks to Smartgroup are proudly supporting them every step of the way.
Smartgroup is so glad to help charitable organisations like Miracle Babies have such a positive impact on so many people.
Each year, the Smartgroup Foundation offers financial support to causes like NurtureTime. If you’d like to find out more about the Foundation, you can check out some more details here.
Read more about Miracle Babies and the important work that they do here and find out how you can get involved and show your support.