Hundreds of mothers in neonatal units for Mother's Day

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Source:

RNZ rnz.co.nz

Hundreds of mothers with premature or seriously ill babies in hospital today are receiving a special Mother's Day gift-pack courtesy of The Neonatal Trust.

Premature baby.

Source: RNZ rnz.co.nz

The charity's executive director, Neil O'Styke, said about one in 10 babies in New Zealand arrive early, which means 16 babies will be born prematurely today.

"Key dates like Christmas Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day can be particularly tough for families with a baby in hospital," he said.

"We hope that this package will provide a bright spot for them this Mother's Day."

The trust has put together 350 packages, which include chocolate, liquorice, a food voucher, beauty product, magazine and a portable power bank for charging a mobile phone - all donated by New Zealand businesses.

"We're also including a book and some support material about caring for your baby, the importance of reading to your baby and skin-to-skin or 'kangaroo cuddles'," Mr Stykes said.

"If a baby is born 16 weeks early, as some of them are, they and their families are likely to be facing at least 100 days in a neo-natal unit, with all the ups and downs that go with that.

"We try to do anything we can to make that journey a bit easier."

The Neonatal Trust, which does not receive any Government funding, helps families in practical ways by providing information and buying or contributing to the cost of equipment.

- Approximately 1 in 10 of babies born in New Zealand every year arrive early. That's one every 90 minutes, and over 5,000 in total every year.

- Babies are classified as premature if they are born before 37 weeks gestation. A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks.

- Many arrive very early - some as early as 16 weeks early (24 weeks gestation).

- Full-term babies with health issues and/or complications are also cared for in the specialist neonatal units.

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