Westy Self Storage of Norwalk, CT, donated space in June to The Tiny Miracles Foundation (TTMF), enabling volunteers to pack welcome bags and home-care starter kits for parents of infants born prematurely in Fairfield County, Conn. Dozens of parents, Girl Scouts and other helpers spent two days packing more than 1,000 bags at the facility at 50 Keeler Ave.
TTMF launched its Tiny Treasures Program in 2005 at Stamford Hospital, a private, nonprofit, Level II trauma center and community academic hospital in Stamford, Conn. The welcome bags are also distributed at hospitals in Bridgeport, Danbury and Norwalk, Conn.
“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 Godina, a mother of child born prematurely and a TTMF Board Member. Godina also spearheaded this year’s packing event. “It’s just heartbreaking leaving your fragile baby at the hospital when you go home, and the path ahead is completely and utterly unknown.”
The welcome bags are given to parents upon their arrival in the neonatal intensive care units (NICU). The gift includes a Snoedel bonding doll, which is designed to retain the mothers’ scent; preemie-sized clothing; the children’s book “Welcome to the World”; supplies for breast-pumping mothers; and materials to help parents to make a personalized name plate for their baby’s isolette.
“Our hope is to relieve some stress, and help with parent and baby bonding during the NICU stay,” said Leelee Klein, president of TTMF.
The home-care starter kit contains preemie-sized clothing, diapers, swaddles and product samples. It also includes information about resources available to parents. “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 of TTMF.
Founded in 1990, Westy Self Storage is headquartered in Stamford, Conn. It operates four facilities in Connecticut, four in New Jersey and seven in New York.