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Preterm Infants Parents Association Inc (PIPA)

Preterm Infants - Supporting our Smallest Citizens Appeal

Approximately 8.7%  (or 1 in 11 ) of all babies born in Australia each year are born preterm (at less than 37 weeks gestation).  Preterm birth is a serious issue and can causes great emotional and financial stress for parents.

Prem parents find their lives turned upside down as they rise to the challenge of caring for a premature or sick baby that must spend time in a neonatal intensive or special care nursery. A baby being born unexpectedly weeks or even months before its due date and often in emergency situations can cause parents a high level of emotional upheaval and stress. They have to deal with leaving the hospital with their baby needing care in a neonatal nursery for days, weeks or months. Premature babies ares not simply a smaller version of term babies.  They are still developing and has been born into a world in which they are not ready to survive on their own and need assistance. They may need assistance to breath, regulate their body temperature and heart rate. They need help to feed and to learn how to suck. Many suffer from jaundice, anaemia, heart problems,  problems with their digestive tract, eye problems, and are at risk of infections. Parents often refer to the time their baby spends in a neonatal nursery as a roller coast ride. Not only are they dealing with with the emotional stress of the uncertainity around their baby's medical outcome but must also deal with the ups and downs of their baby's progress to discharge from the nursery. Parents will spend many, many hours at the nursery each day bonding with their baby, expressing milk, learning to look after the special needs of their child as they assist with baby's cares, providing kangarro care (skin to skin care), reading and talking to their baby. All very important to their baby's long term development. This, although the right thing to do, can cause additional stresses when there are other young children or family members needing their attention.

Parents also may find themselves faced with financial hardship. These financial pressures may arise from the need to live away from home for extended periods (some prems can spend 3 months or longer in hospital), from taking unexpected leave of absences from employment, additional childcare expenses or from the costs associated with travelling back and forward to the hospital each day.  For those families on a very tight budget these financial pressures can mean the difference between being able to visit their prem in the hospital each day or for mums who must live away from home being able to have regular contact with their partner and/or other children.

Why PIPA is important?

Parent has volunteers (most of whom are parents to a prem themselves) who provide parents with emotional and practical support. They  provide them with information about the emotional struggles a parent may face, share their stories of preterm birth, share information on what to expect while there baby is in the hospital and their child's longer term development. They offer friendship and encourage parents to make friends with other parents to assist them with their journey.

As well as grieving the loss of a pregnancy, many mums miss out on the practices and traditions which acknowledge and celebrate the birth of a new baby eg baby shower, getting ready for the birth by buying baby items,  gift giving. Parents fears about their baby's survival often mean they do not announce the birth to family and friends.   Family and friends sometimes don't know what the appropriate thing to do is.  It is for these reasons that PIPA steps in and provides new parents with a gift for their baby. This new prem parent pack may include an outfit suitable for a tiny baby, a muslin wrap or blanket, a pacifer, a story book and other useful baby items. The pack also includes useful information about premature birth.

PIPA has established a needy prem parent fund to provide some assistance to those families who are facing financial hardship. This service is on a referral basis from a hospital social worker or another charity.

Key Areas of Expenditure

PIPA will assist needy prem parents with parking or transport costs, supply a mum with a breast pump, supply a Coles or Woolies gift card for the purchase of essentials and other items.

PIPA provides parents with a new parent pack.

A $5 or $10 donation will put a reading book in the parent pack.

A $15 donation purchases an outfit suitable for a small baby.

A $20 donation will contribute towards the purchase of fabric for volunteers to make a baby wrap or blanket.  

A $30 donations means that PIPA can supply a gift card to a needy parent to spend on essential groceries

A $50 donations means PIPA can purchase a Go Card with $50 on it or top up an existing Go Card to the same amount for needy parents so that they can use public transport to visit their baby at the nursery when they have no funds of their own.

A $50 donation means PIPA can give a regional prem family a fuel card so that Dad and the kids can visit Mum and the new baby at the hospital.  It is very difficult for regional families when mum has to spend so much time away from home because the new baby can only get the care it needs in one of the major tertiary Hospitals.

A $100 donation means PIPA can supply a breast pump to a prem mum who is having difficulty maintaining a milk supply and cannot afford to purchase or hire one. Or to a mum who cannot spend enough time at the Nursery to use the hospital pump because of their commitment to their other children.

All money raised by PIPA from this appeal goes directly to the purposes stated. PIPA has low overheads because it is run 100% by volunteers. PIPA gets no government assistance or ongoing corporate support. It relies on the generosity of the community and the fund raising activities of its hard working volunteers.




Contact Details

PO Box 400

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Will I receive a receipt for my donation?

Yes, as soon as your donation is processed.

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