Child Life Specialists and the March of Dimes® NICU Family Support Program Make Father’s Day Memorable with a Little Help from Angels Baseball
Father’s Day can be tough for families spending time in the hospital, especially for new dads worrying about their little ones.
The Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach supports not only babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but the entire family. Child life specialists work closely with the NICU care team and the March of Dimes® NICU Family Support Program to help make each family’s stay in the NICU a little more normal.
“For parents, you have so many questions and are constantly worrying about your baby’s health while balancing the stress of everyday life,” says Brittany Garrison, child life specialist, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “Many parents work and can’t be at the bedside as much as they want. Our Child Life team fills in where we can, holding babies who might need to be held, or helping parents learn how to interact with their little ones safely.”
This year, child life specialists and March of Dimes NICU Family Support coordinators teamed up with the Angels to make Father’s Day special for the dads with a baby in the NICU. This was made possible through MemorialCare and the Angels Official Healthcare Partnership. Each baby in the NICU had their footprint stamped onto baseballs donated by the Angels, and at a special Father’s Day celebration each dad was surprised with this unique keepsake.
“It’s a small gesture, but it gives each of these dads something to take home with them,” says Brenda Macias, program coordinator, March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program. “Even if they aren’t baseball fans, in a couple of years, these dads are going to look at these little footprints and see how much their child has grown.”
This year’s Father’s Day celebration was complete with music, donuts, a massage therapist and sports on the television.
“We try our best to normalize their stay,” says Garrison. “Events like these help these dads relax a little during a stressful time. For some of these dads its their first Father’s Day, so we try our best to make it extra special.”