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From September 12th-19th the Neonatal Departments in Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street and Crumlin are participating in the “Babies With Books Read-a-thon” to support babies and families and improve the experience of hospitalisation. This initiative is taking 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 hospital is an activity that can help calm, sooth and comfort babies. It is something parents can do every day for their baby during a time where many feel helpless in an intense and stressful environment and provides an important opportunity for families to bond. Reading is also linked to improved language and writing abilities at school age, so it’s never too early to start and why we’re encouraging you to get on board with our Babies with Books Read-a-thon.

CHI at Temple Street would like to offer a special thanks to Blanchardstown library that generously donated books for the Read-a-Thon. We also received kind donations from Children’s Books Ireland and O’Briens Press. CHI at Crumlin would like to thank Children’s Health Foundation Giggle fund, which funded the purchase of their books for the event and to a family for their thoughtful and generous donation. We are very grateful.

This event has brought health care professionals from a range of disciplines cross-site to work together on creating a positive experience for our smallest patients.

“Hearing parents read to their babies bring a smile to our faces as we know it is such a positive experience for both the baby and parent, in what can otherwise be a stressful environment filled with uncertainty. Parents can often be overwhelmed when their baby is in hospital and want to know what they can do for them. We know that reading helps family bonding and can create a calm atmosphere,” agrees Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialists.

Max’s Story

“Max has been in hospital for two and a half months due to a genetic condition. When Max was a new-born baby we started reading to him and we now read to him every day.

The reason we read to Max is not only do we enjoy it, but he also interacts with us and responds to our voices and facial expressions. Story time is now part of his daily routine and is quality time to spend as a family.

Max’s favourite books are the Mr Men series and sensory and audio books. Being in hospital is a difficult time for any parent and so having story time helps us to deal with the stress. We will continue to read to Max for the duration of his time in hospital and when he returns home so that Max will continue to enjoy story time as he grows older.”

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