According to research, only 18% of parents of premature or ill babies in special care know how to recognise their babies distress signals, and are able to comfort them.
Today sees the launch of the 1 in 8 campaign – supported by Fairy Non Bio, and BLISS, the premature baby charity – a groundbreaking research project that will look at new techniques to help parents be more involved in their baby’s care from day one.
As the name suggests, 1 in 8 babies in the UK are born premature or sick, and often the most natural instincts of a parent, to hold and soothe their child, are made difficult or uncomfortable in these situations due to being surrounded by medical equipment and complicated procedures.
Research suggests that only 18% of parents of special care babies receive guidance and support on how to recognise their babiesÃ‚â€™ distress signals and only just over half are shown how to help soothe their baby through proven techniques.
Babies born requiring special care may go through a staggering ten or more medical procedures a day. Some may need one an hour. Nurses may not have the time to use soothing techniques, or to show parents how to use them. To add to this, a parentÃ‚â€™s ability to touch and soothe their premature or sick baby, a highly comforting act with proven benefits to the baby, is often hampered by essential medical equipment such as incubators and ventilators
This can lead to feelings of helplessness – not knowing how to help their newborn is the most common source of parental stress. This has a huge impact on the long-term wellbeing of parent and baby alike.
The research, which is unusual in that it is nurse-led, will test ways in which parents can overcome the barriers they face.Ã‚Â The research will directly involve approximately 200 patients, nurses and parents and will be conducted across four neonatal units in the UK. At the heart of the research is the idea that parents who are given the opportunity to become directly involved in their baby’s care and treatment are likely to find it easier to bond with their child. Not only does this direct involvement encourage a stronger relationship between parent and baby, it may also reduce stress for the parents and help them get through the challenges of having a baby that is born prematurely or sick.