All babies are delicate and need to be handled with care, but premature babies require special attention. And this is what the team at the HSA Neo-natal unit gives.
Caring for premature babies is more about dedication than medication.
Meet little Daniel Barrett, this little tyke surprised his mom Winsome 32 weeks into her pregnancy. Now at 37 weeks Daniel’s still underdeveloped.
“When you have an immature neurology you are going to have immature development and that includes some of the basic functional life skills, like being able to suck a bottle or bread feed normally or to eat,” says Faith Gealey, an HSA speech language pathologist.
She’s part of the team providing all round care for premature babies and mom Winsome says what they do makes a difference.
“The compassion, the genuine concern and everybody. They are really nice,” she says.
Kiri Archer, Occupational Therapist says work with premature babies continues after they leave the hospital and methods like play therapy is key to their healthy development.
“They are learning how to run, skip, jump, play interact with others. So it is really essential that we use play as the medium because that is how children those learns skills they need as they get older,” she says.
Working with premature babies is not easy on parents nor is it on the team. In fact, Maggie Tomlin, Specialist Pediatric Physiotherapist say letting go is a bittersweet experience.
“At the end of that road you know the babies go on with their development and their walking and its time to discharge and say bye and yea, it can be sad, but it is such a great outcome for the family,” Ms Tomlin says.
As Dr. Earl Robinson, Head of Clinical Pediatric Department explains, it’s an intensive exercise for the team but premature births are not something that could be predicted.
“The research is still ongoing because there are some times when someone would go into premature labour and there we have no reason why,” he says.
He says mothers can reduce their risk for premature births by eating health getting regular checkups and staying away from smoking.
And November 17 is World Prematurity Day and the HSA is offering free developmental checks on that day for babies no older than 18 months.