How we help – in the NICU and SCBU
The Little Miracles Trust is a charity that operates across Aotearoa New Zealand. We are light on paid staff but heavy on volunteer commitment and resources.
We operate alongside all 23 of the neonatal units in Aotearoa and offer support in a number of ways.
1. Onsite Support in the Hospital
We have a number of team members who work directly in the NICU units and visit the SCBU units on a regular basis. They are there for families to lean on during such a stressful time with the majority of the team being ex-NICU/SCBU parents they are the perfect listening ear or shoulder to cry on.
In addition to this we offer items such as breastpumps for hire and sale; prem baby clothing and nappies as well as lactation aids and lots of woollen goods handmade with love.
2. Care Packs
We supply around 5,000 care packs across every unit with one for to each family who has a baby admitted to a unit. These packs are made up of practical yet thoughtful items which will be of use during the family’s journey. There are many items we’d love to add (lipsalve, powerbank, antibacterial wipes or hand gel, water bottle and sanitary items for Mum), so if you would like to donate to help us with these packs you can do so here.
3. Regular hospital lunches and morning teas
One of our most regular and popular support events is providing an opportunity for Mums and Dads with babies in the unit to meet and have a get together. This is an opportunity to provide necessary information and support and also answer any questions. Parents can also develop support networks with other parents, which help outside of the unit. Where facilities allow, the Trust host a regular light lunch or morning tea.
4. Ward visits
With the permission of the District Health Board (DHB), carry out ante and post natal ward visits with parents providing targeted information, helpful advice and lending a listening ear.
5. Unique Community Playgroups
Parents who have had a NICU or SCBU experience often need support once they return home, as returning home with a baby that was premature or sick can have demands over and above a full term healthy newborn. Plus they’ve gone from a busy hospital ward environment to being at home on their own.
Also parents may not have ever had the opportunity to join an antenatal group. We offer regular playgroups where parents can meet up after they have left the NICU and their babies can have a play. They are unique as they are facilitated either by an Occupational Therapist or a Physiotherapist who is there to talk about baby’s development milestones and give advice to the families. More information on venues and dates available here.
In addition to everything set out above, we would provide a range of specific assistance based on the need at the time and the funds available. Examples include:
- providing help with petrol vouchers for parents finding it difficult (cost prohibitive) to travel to visit their baby who may be in the NICU for weeks or months. Being unable to come to the hospital may impact the health of baby and their speed of recovery because, for example, a mother or father cannot make necessary visits for breastfeeding or kangaroo cuddles;
- facilitating the organisation of logistics such as accommodation for parents who find themselves in a different region (where specialist care is required, or their local NICU is at capacity, families are transferred to a different region often at very short notice)
7. Support for NICU and SCBU
We support the NICU and SCBU teams directly in a number of ways, for example, a good number of the chairs used for those all important kangaroo cuddles by Mum or Dad has often been supplied by us; vital training equipment such as the ‘Baby Sim’ simulation doll used for enhancing staff training; the privacy screens available to be able to close off a family’s own part of a busy ward room; breastpumps available for use on the ward by Mum to express breastmilk for her baby; and we’ve helped with many refurbishments of parent rooms, kitchens and lounges.