A support group for parents of babies who have received care in Walsall Manor Hospital’s Neonatal Unit is being re-launched later this month.
The group met regularly prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Neonatal Community Outreach Team is looking forward to starting it back up again.
The first meeting is being held on Wednesday 13 July at St John’s Church in Pleck, from 12noon to 2pm. Meetings will be held on the second Wednesday of every month and are free to attend.
Nicki Heath from the team said: “This group is all about sharing each other’s experiences, being supportive of each other and celebrating milestones.
“The journey parents go through with a baby in Neonatal Care is a very different one to those who are fortunate enough to be discharged home more or less after the birth of their baby. This group is all about making connections with those who have shared the experience.
“I know from my own experience, as well as speaking to other mums, that it can sometimes be difficult to attend existing baby groups. You can face questions or comments such as “Why’s your baby so small?” or “I see they’re not crawling yet” and it can be difficult to try to explain that your early motherhood experience is very different to theirs.
“With our neonatal support group there’s a common history and that can be reassuring.”
The Neonatal Community Outreach Team is a specialist team of nurses aiming to improve families’ experience during their baby’s neonatal journey. The group is available to those who have started their journey either on the Neonatal Unit or on the Transitional Care Unit.
At these meetings parents can have their baby weighed and at some sessions a dietitian, physiotherapist and infant feeding team staff member will be available to offer advice.
The outreach team has a Facebook page, Walsall NNU Helping Hands Support Group, and information will be shared here.
The group has also teamed up with Walsall Healthcare’s Well Wishers charity to run an appeal for new toys ahead of the first meeting.
Nicki added: “The toys we had previously are a bit old battered now and we thought it would be lovely to start back up with new toys for the babies to enjoy.”
“Georgie Westley, Fundraising Manager for the charity, said: “This group has been a tremendous support to parents who have used our Neonatal Unit and it’s lovely to see it get back up and running after a difficult couple of years.
“We are going to use the money generated through items sold in our Fundraising Hub to buy some new toys for the group. If anyone would like to buy some toys or make a donation for the group to buy some they can get in touch with me on 01922 656643 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”