Making Things Easier After a Rough Start

February 17, 2023

Claire and Lucy attend The little Miracles Trust Developmental Support Playgroup

The Little Miracles Trust supports the whānau of premature and sick babies, not just while they are in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, but when they get home too.  Little Miracles runs seven Playgroups with Developmental Support across Aotearoa, which are free of charge for those who attend.  

Families are often reluctant to take their babies to a ‘regular’ playgroup due to their vulnerability to infection. Poor lung development and other medical issues are a concern so these playgroups were set up in response to this very specific need. 

The playgroups are a safe space for babies who have been discharged from hospital, up until the age of two. They give whānau the opportunity to meet with a professional Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist who has experience working with premature/unwell babies and knows the developmental and physical issues they may be facing.  The sessions run weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on the area. They are a great way for parents and whānau to get to know others on a similar journey and provide peer-to-peer support. A casual chat over a cup of tea or coffee can result in lasting connections.

Claire has been attending our Auckland playgroup with her daughter, Lucy for approximately 4 months and says, "The Little Miracles Trust Playgroup is a great place to connect with others who had a rough start with their bubs, even though everyone's journey is different it is a lot more relatable than someone who got to bypass NICU and/or SCBU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit and/or Special Care Baby Unit)."

Baby Lucy at Playgroup

Social support for parents is provided, as well as advice regarding baby’s developmental milestones. Babies and toddlers are able to play with developmentally appropriate toys and play equipment and preschool siblings are also welcome.

This early social interaction benefits the babies and aids in development. The Developmental Therapist has 1-on-1 time with each whānau (very few attendees would be able to afford the services of a Developmental Therapist privately), as well as facilitating group activities.

Claire says, "Janet (Developmental Therapist) is such a wonderful resource and is a credit to how well our daughter is doing. Lucy is our second, but I had been feeling lost as to how to help her keep progressing and each week. Janet gives little tips and tricks to support Lucy with tummy time, rolling, sitting and now moving between lying and sitting. An additional benefit of Little Miracles Trust Playgroups is seeing the range of development and stages of the babies so you can learn from others who are further down the track and also help with suggestions for those who are newly navigating being home with their little ones.  We are grateful for Janet, the other mums and the group to now have a thriving 9-month-old".

Words and images supplied by The Little Miracles Trust

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