Support for families with children in neonatal care

Support for families with children in neonatal care

Published: 8 September 2022

Leo’s Neonatal applied to Darlington Building Society’s 5% Pledge and received £5,000 to help train the team in a specialist technique called Brazelton Newborn Behavioural Observations, which aims to help parents and newborns, spending time in neonatal care, to bond.

One in eight newborn babies who are born either prematurely or with a medical condition, need neonatal care that can go on for months or even years.

The impact on the family can be devastating, but, until recently, there had been no provision to help them cope with the long-term outcomes of neonatal trauma.

Now, thanks to Darlington Building Society’s 5% Pledge, there will be support available in the region for years to come, through Leo’s Neonatal – a regional organisation, set up in 2018, to support families with children in neonatal care.

Founder and chief executive, Lottie King, said: “For a lot of parents on a neonatal unit, they aren’t able to hold their baby, who is probably in an incubator because it is so poorly.

“This can affect early bonding, and create further problems, such as post-natal depression and attachment issues, which can go on for a long time.

“This tool allows our staff to come into the unit and read how the baby is communicating to the parents, thereby helping them both to create that all-important early bond.

“We were absolutely over the moon to receive this donation from Darlington Building Society, because it will create a legacy that will help hundreds of families every year, for years to come, even after the money has been spent.”

Part of the grant will also be used to support family sessions for poorly children who, because of medical needs, might otherwise not be able to access activities like swimming and sensory play, as well as enabling parents to meet and share experiences.

Kath Leighton, manager of Darlington Building Society’s Yarm branch, who supported the application, said: “We are delighted that the help we’ve given to Leo’s Neonatal through our 5% Pledge today, will create a lasting legacy to help families in the future, during a time when they so desperately need this support.”

Leo’s Neonatal relies entirely on donations from the general public or from companies like Darlington Building Society.

It provides counselling, peer support, and mental health support throughout the Tees Valley, up to Sunderland, and parents can self-refer, or will be referred by the hospital.

More information is available on the website:

You can learn more about Darlington Building Society’s 5% Pledge here.