Help at hand for ‘special’ babies

Baby Ruben Smith with his mum Sammi Smith at one of the previous sessions.
Baby Ruben Smith with his mum Sammi Smith at one of the previous sessions.
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Taking a newborn baby home for the first time can be an anxious and stressful time for parents as they adjust to life with a new addition to their family.

For parents of babies who have spent time in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU) it can be even more daunting.

Help is at hand thanks to the neonatal support group, which is held on alternate Mondays between 10am and noon, at Ashby children’s clinic, off Collum Lane, Scunthorpe. The sessions offer support, advice and opportunities for the babies to play.

Clare South, a community neonatal nurse at Scunthorpe hospital, said: “New parents eagerly look forward to taking their baby home, so it can be frightening if their newborn has been cared for on NICU for a period of time.

“When a child is discharged from NICU this is usually a positive sign that the baby is getting better and no longer needs such specialist intensive care. However, it can be a stressful and anxious time for the parents.”

Clare said: “It can take time getting used to not having the one-to-one nursing care and constant monitoring that their child will have received in hospital. Parents can find it hard to adjust and sometimes feel overwhelmed.

“The group provides an informal place to meet other parents, have a chat with members of the community neonatal team and for the babies to interact and play with each other. We also have a monthly baby massage session as well as a monthly wiggle and giggle play session.”

The group, which is run by Clare and her colleague Sue Eagles, was initially only for parents of premature babies but this has now been extended to any baby that has been cared for on NICU and transitional care.

Clare said babies were usually admitted to NICU within the first 24-hours of birth and were usually admitted if they were born prematurely, there were difficulties during their delivery or they showed signs of a problem in the first few days of life.

Dates for your diary are: January 12 and 26, February 9 and 23, March 9 and 23, March and 6 and 20 April.

Anyone wanting more information can ring the neonatal community team on (01724) 282282 extension 3491 or 07917 588595.