LONDON, Nov. 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Around the world, 15 million babies are born premature every year. With no two premature experiences being the same, prenatal needs vary from baby to baby and even country to country. In the UK, preemie care has had its advancements however parents still face challenges when it comes to bonding with their babies through touch. Beyond the UK, preemies can face barriers due to limited access to healthcare resources and equipment, ultimately impacting survival rate. This means that globally, both babies and their parents require varying levels of emotional and physical support.
This World Prematurity Day, Pampers is taking their commitment one-step further, touching the lives of Preemie babies both near and far. By continuing the brand's work with UK charity partner Bliss and also supporting children's rights organization UNICEF's international work, Pampers wants to ensure preemie babies have the best possible start in life, no matter where they are, by helping to deliver better access to services for families of preemie babies.
Our partnerships with both Bliss and UNICEF will help support moments of touch which is vital in the early stages of care for preemie babies. Not only is touch the first sense babies develop in the womb but it also helps support their early development. A gentle touch, felt on the delicate skin of a preemie baby, can help them bond with their family as it triggers the release of oxytocin (the love and bonding hormone3), in turn, helping to reduce stress and anxiety5.
England defender Demi Stokes knows all too well how important touch was in her development as she was born 10 weeks early herself and weighed 3lbs. "My family understands the experiences of prematurity and life on the neonatal ward all too well. I was born premature, and so were three of my four siblings. My son Harlen was also born a little early, weighing 5lb, and spent some time on a neonatal unit after his birth. To be able to bring my family to Birmingham Women's Hospital, where I spent some of my early days, has been such a heart warming and uplifting moment for us all. We got to visit some of the little fighters that weighed the same as me and even got to talk to their families and connect over our shared experience. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to feel connected to your baby, especially during those critical, early days. Simply touching, holding or being able to change a nappy are so important in helping you bond. It's been great to see first-hand the amazing work that Pampers is currently doing to help raise awareness whilst ensuring preemie babies have the best start in life"
Despite the advancements made in prenatal care in the UK, those early moments on the neonatal unit can be a challenging time for the 58,000 babies born premature every year, and for their families6. Parents often feel helpless as they have no control over their baby's wellbeing. As part of this year's donation to their long-standing partner Bliss, Pampers will help enable moments of "touch" for both parents and baby by supporting the charity's Bliss Champions programme. This valuable on-the-ground service, which had to pause due to COVID, offers emotional support to parents on neonatal units right from the start of their neonatal journey and at the time they need it the most.
Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss said, "On a neonatal unit, a lack of touch between babies and their families can massively impact their bonding experience at an important time of development. From kangaroo care to changing a nappy, at Bliss, we want to encourage milestone moments that can aid the bond between babies and their families. Our Bliss Champions are a vital part of the work we do by helping families to navigate the early experiences of neonatal care and providing them with the emotional support they need to be involved in their babies' hands-on care, which we know gives babies the best chance of survival and quality of life."
For almost one in three parents, the interaction they have when changing a nappy is just as important as touching their baby2 and in helping them bond with their newborn. And since a nappy is one of the items that regularly touches their delicate skin, it needs to be gentle. That's why Pampers designed their Pampers Preemie Protection nappies to be extra soft. These nappies are Pampers's smallest, up to three times smaller than a regular newborn nappy, for babies weighing as little as 1lb 1oz. They continue to be donated to neonatal units in hospitals across the UK as this is where the need is greatest and are also available to parents and families of preemie babies, free of charge, through ASDA pharmacies.*
Nicole Hallak of Pampers said, "It's incredible to see how far we have come; from one of our team members first witnessing the limitations of nappy care for premature babies back in 1996, to now donating our specially designed nappies to neonatal units and families in need across the UK. As the annual #PampersforPreemies campaign has evolved, we have been able to take the extra step this year to recognise prematurity across the world. With the help of both Bliss and UNICEF, emotional and physical needs can be supported so all babies can have the best chance from the very beginning of their lives."
Taking a closer look at prematurity globally, in some countries, parents lack access to clean, well-equipped health facilities and require more skilled health workers to support their journey. These are all vital to help encourage skin-to-skin contact and improve the conditions for preemie babies around the world. By working with UNICEF, Pampers is helping strengthen their work to support the most vulnerable babies around the world and improve the survival chances of up to 1.7 million preemie babies.
Omar Abdi, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director said**, "When it comes to babies and their mothers, the right care at the right time in the right place can make all the difference. Yet millions of small and sick babies and women don't survive every year, simply because they don't receive the quality care that is their right and our collective responsibility." Pampers' support will help strengthen the work UNICEF does for premature babies and will help families around the world access important healthcare to ultimately improve survival rates.
You can show your support and help touch the lives of preemie babies near and far too. For every pack of Pampers nappy and nappy pants purchased from Asda (both in-store and online) between 9th November and 7th December 2022, Pampers will donate to both Bliss and UNICEF. T&Cs apply, for more information, please visit https://pampersforpreemies.pampers.co.uk/.
*Simply go to the Asda Pharmacy counter and ask for Pampers Preemies Protection nappies, which are available in 3 sizes ? P1 for babies weighing less than 4lbs, P2 for babies weighing less than 2.2lbs & P3 for babies weighing less than 1.1lbs. Subject to availability.
To discover more about Pampers products, our latest innovations and for a chance to win rewards, isit www.pampers.co.uk
To learn more about P&G UK and Ireland, our brands, and our Citizenship programmes, please visit our website, download our Northern Europe Citizenship Report, or follow us on our social channels (Twitter @PGUK and Instagram @pgukandireland)
To learn more about Bliss and their work with premature and sick babies, visit https://www.bliss.org.uk
To learn more about UNICEF and their work, visit https://www.unicef.org.uk
*UNICEF does not endorse any company, brand, product or service.
2Pampers Preemie Parent Survey March 2022
3Vittner, D., Butler, S., Smith, K., Makris, N., Brownell, E., Samra, H., & McGrath, J. (2019). Parent Engagement Correlates with Parent and Preterm Infant Oxytocin Release during Skin-to-Skin Contact. Advances in Neonatal Care, 19(1), 73?79.
6MBRRACE-UKPerinatal Mortality Surveillance Report, Oct 2021
**Quote from the report, Survive and Thrive: Transforming care for every small and sick newborn, UNICEF, 2018
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