Reading to babies while they are in hospital helps their development, not only in hospital but into infancy and childhood. A parent’s voice is a very familiar and comforting sound to babies. Parents can read every day to their baby during a time where many feel helpless in an intense and stressful environment.
This past September, the Neonatal Departments in CHI at Temple Street and Crumlin participated in the “Babies With Books Read-a-thon” to support babies and families and improve the experience of hospitalization. This initiative took place in over 50 NICUs in six countries worldwide.
The aim of the Read-a-thon is to encourage parent led reading with babies. This promotes brain development by creating and strengthening brain connections that, according to the American Academy of Paediatrics, “build language, literacy, and social-emotional skills at a critical time in a child’s development.” Reading with babies in the NICU also provides an important opportunity for families to bond with their babies in the hospital environment. Reading is also linked to improved language and writing abilities at school age, so it’s never too early to start and that’s why we’re encouraging you to get on board with our “Babies with Books Read-a-thon.”
Thanks to the Children’s Health Foundation Giggle Fund, the Neonatal team in CHI at Crumlin provides a book to each baby they care for. Each baby is gifted a ‘brave bag,’ within the gift bag are: bonding squares, a book, milestone cards, CHI family poster, information leaflets, some baby items such as a hat and blanket.
In CHI at Temple Street, the Playroom supplies two books to each neonate to participate in the Read-a-thon.
Feedback from staff and parents has also been positive.
“Evan loves when I read to him…he listens to all of the sounds from the book and tries to imitate and coo during the story. He also smiles and laugh’s at my facial expressions. It is a lovely bonding experience for both of us!”
“Seeing the parents read to their babies is a joy to watch, it is so nice to see them enjoying a normal everyday activity in such an unfamiliar and often stressful environment.”