Having a newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can certainly be an unsettling experience for parents. With so much uncertainty, it can be a scary and unfamiliar place during a time when parents want nothing more than to hold and bond with their new child.
In an attempt to ease some of the stress and provide a reminder they are not alone during this difficult time, Today is a Good Day — a national nonprofit providing personal and financial support to families with babies in the NICU — recently provided care packages to parents at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
UnitedHealthcare employees volunteered to assemble and donate more than 850 of the care packages which feature a children’s book, journal, “One Day at a Time” bracelets, handmade bonding squares and personal stories from other NICU parents.
The fabric of the bonding squares helps NICU families form a connection with their babies through smell. One square can be worn against the parent’s skin and one can be left with the baby in his or her crib. Each day, the squares can be switched so that the baby and parents can build a bond through each other’s scent.
“We hope the care packages we assembled will provide comfort and relief to new parents as they begin their path to recovery in the NICU,” said Jessica Daun, director of sales for UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin and the organizer of the care package donation. “This is our way of letting them know we are with them.”
Today is a Good Day was founded by Martha and Paul Sharkey, whose twins spent time in a NICU after their birth. The Sharkeys felt there was a gap in care for parents and families going through the NICU journey.
“Families who have been in the NICU know it feels like a roller coaster,” Marth said. “There are many highs, lows, twists and turns and these care packages are intended for families to realize they are not alone as they navigate the NICU.”
To learn more about Today is a Good Day, visit their website.