While welcoming a new baby into the world can be a momentous life event and a wonderful moment many people look forward to, it doesn't always go to plan for every family. Some babies are born prematurely or are born into the world with an illness or condition that requires managing before joining their family at home.
In Australia, there is a terrific amount of resources and support available for families experiencing such challenging circumstances. The Life's Little Treasures Foundation (LLTF) is dedicated to providing community support and critical information about caring for a premature or sick baby to any family who may need it.
LLTF is Australia's foremost charity dedicated to providing support, friendship and information, specifically tailored for families of premature or sick babies. They empower families with information that allows them to be their child's best advocate, and offer support to families in hospital and those back at home. The community is made up of generous families, friends, health professionals and supporters.
What support groups are available through the Life's Little Treasures Foundation?
LLTF has developed two support groups for parents:
- Support for families in hospital navigating the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or Special care.
- Support for families once they transition home.
Both groups are facilitated by parent volunteers and offer a safe space to connect with families in a similar situation to your own. A closed Facebook group exists to help run these groups – you can request to join via their Facebook group by searching for Life's Little Treasures, or your hospital team could help direct you.
What resources are available to families through LLTF?
Family Assistance Program
Having a baby staying in hospital can be challenging for parents. Besides the emotional strain, there's the added stress of travel time and expenses, food and sometimes even accommodation to be closer to them.
The Family Assistance Program provides gifts and vouchers to families in need, doing whatever they can to make a struggling family's time more manageable. The program gives food and fuel vouchers to minimise stress and maximise the time families can spend together.
LLTF offers multiple resources that have been developed through collaboration with leading health professionals and parents who have been through these experiences.
A Guiding Hand for Families in Special Care Nurseries is a vital resource for families in a Special Care Nursery or preparing for the move home, covering:
- Services provided by the Life's Little Treasures Foundation
- Special Care explained
- Transition from NICU to SCN
- Coping strategies
- Getting ready to go home
- At Home
- Listing of community services and resources
- A section to record milestones reached
- Notes area
The Life's Little Treasures Foundation’s “A Guiding Hand for Families in NICU and Special Care Nurseries” provides information and guidance to families in the NICU or Special care. It includes tips such as:
- Neonatal care explained
- Practical tips and information
- Kangaroo Care
- For dads
- Coping strategies
- Listing of community services and resources.
You can obtain the above resources by asking your Nurse Unit Manager, contacting LLTF on Facebook or emailing [email protected]
You can read more information for families on the LLTF website here.
You are not alone
Experiencing a premature birth or having a sick newborn in hospital can be confronting and overwhelming, but there is always support available to you. Your hospital team is there for you to help answer any questions, and can possibly direct you to even more support resources.
The Life’s Little Treasure’s Fund is committed to making life easier for those families enduring this difficult time – they have a lot of information, understanding, support and assistance to give. You can also always reach out to further professional support such as a counsellor or psychologist.