Babies in the neonatal unit at East Surrey Hospital, run by Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) were presented with bonding squares sewn by local girl, Hannah Rowley (14), from Oxted. Hannah recently visited the unit to deliver the squares as part of learning a new skill for her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award.
Bonding squares are often given to premature babies to help them bond with their parents. The square is usually placed against their skin, down their top, to pick up the parents scent and then placed under the baby’s head whilst in an incubator. These squares are then swapped over every 12 hours.
Rachel Potter, practice education facilitator, neonatal unit said: “Benefits of the bonding squares include being a comfort to the baby having the mother’s scent next to them. Also, for the mother, having her baby’s scent near to her when she is at home will help to trigger the hormones which will help with her milk supply and expressing.”
Hannah made 13 pairs of bonding squares from recycled cotton materials, adorned with cheery patterns and presented them to the neonatal unit ready to give to parents and their babies who are being cared for at the special care baby unit on the neonatal ward.
Joined by her mother, Claire Rowley, who is also lead nurse for critical care outreach at East Surrey Hospital, Hannah said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for me to learn a new skill. I have previously done a little bit of sewing at school but was not very good at it. Mum heard about bonding squares for premature babies and so I decided to make these as part of my Duke of Edinburgh award knowing it would be something useful to do. I was inspired to sew by a lady who was a great help and lives in my village and I can now use a sewing machine.”
Luke and Maria Richardson from Pound Hill, Crawley are proud parents to twins Isla and Ava, who are just 33 weeks old. Maria said: “The squares are a lovely gesture and such a great comfort to our babies during their time here in the special care baby unit.”