Several dozen local parents, girl scouts and community volunteers gathered together for 2 days in June, in space donated by Westy’s Storage in Norwalk to pack over 1,000 welcome bags and home care starter kits for parents of infants born prematurely in Fairfield County.
The Tiny Miracles Foundation began the Tiny Treasures Program at Stamford Hospital in April of 2005. Over the years, they have expanded their programs and they now pack 1,000 bags for distribution to Danbury, Norwalk, Bridgeport and Stamford Hospitals throughout the year. Kristie Godina of Stamford, who is a mother of child born prematurely and board member of TTMF, spearheaded the “Tiny Treasures” packing event this year. “Having a premature baby is a mixed bag of emotions. As a parent it’s difficult to reconcile feeling so worried and scared at a time you have imagined being one of the happiest in your life,” said Kristie. “It’s just heartbreaking leaving your fragile baby at the hospital when you go home; and the path ahead is completely and utterly unknown.” Remembering this same unease, the volunteers of The Tiny Miracles Foundation (TTMF), developed the Tiny Treasures Program Welcome and Home Care bags to provide educational and emotional support, and hard to find supplies to parents of babies born in Fairfield County. The idea for the Tiny Treasures welcome gift and home care kit came from the core of TTMF’s mission of helping families with premature infants in Fairfield County.
The Welcome Bags are given to parents upon their arrival in the neonatal intensive care units (NICU). The gift includes helpful information and products that aid in the parent-child bonding process. Items include a Snoedel bonding doll, designed to retain the mothers’ scent, preemie-sized clothing, a children’s book titled Welcome to the World by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace partially donated by Read to Grow of Branford, CT, supplies for pumping mothers, and materials for parents to make a personalized name plate for their little one’s isolette. “Our hope is to relieve some stress and help with parent and baby bonding during the NICU stay,” said Leelee Klein, TTMF long time Board President of Darien. “After extended hospitalizations in NICUs, parents of preemies often worry about taking their tiny infants home.”
The Tiny Treasures home care starter kit contains everything from preemie sized clothing, diapers, booties, swaddles, and product samples specific for preemie and infant care, such as Wilton, CT based Beiesdorf’s Aquaphor healing cream and Babyganics eczema cream. The kits also include helpful information about resources available to parents of premature babies. “Parents are often terrified and overwhelmed at the prospect of caring for babies that until now have required a team of medical experts and a battery of equipment. The home care kit is designed to ease parents’ concerns as they transition home from the NICU with their babies,” said Gwen Noto, Co –Founder and Board Member.
Tiny Treasures donors/sponsors this year included: Read to Grow, Westy's Self Storage of Norwalk, Summer Infant, The March of Dimes, Bird & Cronin, Inc., Medela, Inc., Babyganics, Beiersdorf, La Leche League, and Dr. Brown by Hand-craft. To find out more about The Tiny Miracles Foundation or the Tiny Treasures program, go to www.ttmf.org.