Miracle Babies Foundation is Australia’s leading organisation supporting premature and sick newborns, their families, and the hospitals that care for them. Founded in 2005 by Melinda Cruz, the Foundation supports no-cost support for babies, their parents, and their families from pregnancy, through hospital stay, until the child is 6 years old.
CrowdInk had the chance to sit down with Melinda Cruz, CEO of the Miracle Babies Foundation, to talk about the campaign they’re currently running, how Miracle Babies started, the services they provide, and the anxiety and emotional load that comes with having a sick or premature baby in the family.
Along with a group of mums who knew what it was like to go through it alone, without anyone who had had a similar experience, Melinda Cruz formed Miracle Babies Foundation to prevent any family/parent from having nowhere to turn. No new parents expect the anxiety, joy, and massive perspective shifts that come with bringing a newborn home. But all of that anxiety is doubled, tripled even, when your child is born sick. Miracle Babies makes sure that there is a support system waiting.
Miracle Babies Foundation offers programs that work with doctors and nurses to facilitate communication between parents and medical teams, as well as a very strong emotional support network. The foundation offers a 24-hour family line, as well as external, face-to-face nurture planned support groups for parents.
Ms. Cruz says that one of the best supports Miracle Babies offers is their online community, the largest in Australia, with 55,000 facebook members. There are hundreds of reasons that babies are born premature or sick, so having someone in your hospital, city, or even state in a similar situation can be difficult. This community is so vast, that every parent has the ability to connect with other families who understand explicitly what your baby and your family are going through.
15 May was International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day, dedicated to encourage skin-to-skin contact between newborns and their parents. Miracle Babies Foundation started (and is still running) a campaign called the Kangaroo-A-Thon where Australian NICU’s and Special Care Units “compete” for the most logged cuddle hours.
That’s right. It’s a campaign that encourages cuddling newborns.
And while adorable, there has recently been a bunch of research that supports that skin-to-skin contact with newborns, along with breastfeeding, is among the best ways to assure that babies born premature or ill will not only survive, but survive healthy.
Premature babies should still be growing in a closed, sterile environment. Their bodies expect to still be in the womb. So it makes sense that skin-to-skin contact with parents comes with a host of health benefits for children: it stabilizes breathing, heart rate, and temperature; promotes healthier sleep cycles; shortens hospital stays. And skin-to-skin contact with parents come with massive health benefits for mums and partners as well. Cuddling lessens separation anxiety, increases milk supply, increases confidence with the baby. Partners of the mother experience improved confidence, emotional bond with the child and with the mother, and both parents increase active hormones with the babies.
45,000 premature/sick babies are born in Australia each year. Find out how to get involved with Miracle Babies Foundation here.