It’s been an exciting month here at Tiny Sparks WA, and it’s not over yet!. Not only is November the month that World Prematurity Day is celebrated, but it has also seen the coming together of two local and like-minded charitable organisations, Tiny Sparks WA and Parents of Prems!
The parents behind Parents of Prems, Daniel and Michelle Giles, have joined the Board of Tiny Sparks WA and will be continuing the operations of Parents of Prems under the name of Tiny Sparks WA whilst also contributing to existing and new programs offered by Tiny Sparks WA.
So, what are these operations that Tiny Sparks WA has inherited as a consequence of the merger? Primarily, the compilation and distribution of NICU Care Packages that Parents of Prems has been successfully managing since early 2014.
The idea for the NICU Care Package was spurred by the Giles’ own experience in 2012 following the birth of their daughter at 25 weeks gestation. Like most other shocked new parents of such a small fragile baby, Daniel and Michelle wanted to be able to focus on each other and their new baby without having to think about unfamiliar supplies and logistics; Michelle had never even seen a breast pump before! And so the idea of providing these new parents with a suite of NICU essentials was born.
Currently the NICU Care Packages donated by Parents of Prems are distributed by KEMH to new parents of babies born under 1000g (irrespective of gestation), a limit imposed only due to funding constraints, idealistically we would love for all parents of babies born premature or sick to be able to be reached!
As of 1 January 2015 the NICU Care Packages will be produced by Tiny Sparks WA.
A survey was conducted of previous recipients and other parents of NICU babies to ensure the contents of the NICU Care Packages are as useful as possible and reflect the feedback provided by parents who have experienced the NICU journey. As a direct result of this feedback, the 2015 NICU Care Packages will contain the following items:
- A Fridge-to-Go cooler bag for transporting of EBM (the most popular item within the existing Care Packages based on the feedback received!);
- A muslin style wrap to use during kangaroo care cuddles, for a cover whilst feeding or expressing, or to use when baby is home;
- An IV friendly NICU top or dress (sized to approximately 1.2kg);
- Pocket hand sanitiser for keeping germs at bay when out and about;
- Hand cream to combat dry skin caused by frequent washing and use of hand sanitiser;
- Chocolates and snacks for an energy boost on long days;
- A reusable water bottle to help maintain hydration;
- Inkless hand and foot print wipes to create a treasured keepsake;
- A Tiny Sparks WA wrist band;
- A pen to keep on hand to record special moments; and
- Valuable information to help you on your NICU journey, including real life stories of ex-premature babies and where they are now.
Throughout 2014 individual NICU Care Packages have been created to celebrate or honour individuals. The recipient parents receive a NICU Care Package that states it has been “proudly donated by” and lists the donors message (e.g. “proudly donated by the family of Olivia, born at 25 weeks in 2012”); a personal touch to acknowledge our special donors and to let the recipient parents know that someone has thought of them.