CINCINNATI–(BUSINESS WIRE)– More than 380,000 babies—1 in 10—are born preterm in the U.S.i and many of these littlest fighters require extra help from the start. In honor of World Prematurity Day, Pampers is partnering with March of Dimes to bring 40,000 books and educational resources to NICUs across the country, as part of its ongoing commitment to care for the happy, healthy development of every baby.
As a continuation of the Pampers Bright Beginnings Reading initiative announced last month, Pampers will provide more than 65 March of Dimes NICU Family Support® programs with books and helpful reading tips to bring awareness of the developmental benefits of reading to babies from the very beginning. Through their longstanding partnership, Pampers and March of Dimes will work together to reach more than 35,000 families annually.
“March of Dimes NICU Family Support® is thrilled to be partnering with Pampers Bright Beginnings to bring the joy of reading into NICUs across the nation,” said Heather Reimer, Senior Director, NICU Initiatives, March of Dimes. “We know how vital early reading is for our littlest fighters, so being able to provide NICU babies and their families with a way to help create moment of bonding and development is such a privilege. We look forward to continuing our longstanding partnership with Pampers and making a difference in the lives of thousands of families together.”
Studies show that infants admitted to the NICU are at an increased risk for neurodevelopmental deficits due to prematurity or illness, poor language exposure as well as impaired parent-infant bonding. Reading aloud to babies, beginning from birth, can mitigate this issue. Dr. Viral G Jain, MD, FAAP, a physician-scientist, neonatologist and Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a member of Pampers’ Bright Beginnings Advisory Council, recently conducted a large-scale studyii to support this notion. He found that when parents were shown by a healthcare professional how to read with their baby, it doubled the number of parents reading to their babies while in the NICU. Benefits were especially strong among parents who did not themselves enjoy reading aloud, who are at high risk for lower reading frequency and quality, and in turn lower language exposure. These parents were five times more likely to read in the NICU and three times more likely to continue reading aloud at home. These improvements in reading behaviors were likely mediated by reduced parental stress, enhanced bonding between parent and baby and positive parent-infant interactions.
“Reading to baby for even fifteen minutes a day can make a lasting impact on their brain development, especially during the first few months of life when babies are developing key areas of the brain,” said Sarah Pasquinucci, Senior Communications Director, P&G North America Baby Care and mother of two. “Reading to a baby from birth is not only vital to their development, but it’s also a meaningful activity that promotes quality time and bonding between baby and parent. That’s why we’re honored to be partnering with March of Dimes to bring books and educational resources directly to NICU families, so they can experience the joys of reading with baby from the very beginning.”
Pampers and March of Dimes continue to evolve their partnership to find new ways to support the healthy, happy development of babies. Earlier this year, March of Dimes assisted Pampers during the review process after Pampers announced it would be donating $400,000 in NICU Connectivity Grants to select hospitals throughout North America to help keep families connected when it matters most.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals were forced to restructure their family presence protocols, resulting in a reduction of in-person time for many families and their loved ones in the NICU. With the help of Pampers’ donation, select eligible hospitals across North America have been able to acquire the resources and capabilities they need to keep families and babies connected when it matters most. The addition of these resources, including technology like cameras and tablets, has allowed parents to talk, read, sing and stay connected to their baby every day, even when they cannot be physically together.
“The use of this technology has made a world of difference for our families who have had to be separated during this COVID pandemic,” said Kristin Chipoco, Nurse Manager at White Plains Hospital, a selected grant recipient. “During the height of the pandemic one of our babies was separated from both of their parents due to the parents testing positive for COVID. Over the course of the next two weeks these parents were able to see and interact with their babies using Facetime. In addition, the parents were able to virtually see and meet the nurses who were caring for their baby each and every day. This technology allowed a bond to grow and foster between both these parents and their babies and the nursing staff involved, even though the parents were never allowed to set foot in the NICU. This technology helped ease some of the fear and anxiety of these brand new parents who had a baby admitted to NICU during such an already stressful period.”
Pampers believes a baby’s earliest days are essential towards shaping a bright beginning and is committed to supporting their happy, healthy development from the start. Through the Bright Beginnings initiative, Pampers is proud to continue to serve babies and their families by removing barriers that hinder early success and development and enhancing access to tools and resources to ensure the success of generations to come.
To learn more about Pampers Bright Beginnings and its upcoming initiatives or how you can get involved, please download the Pampers App or visit Pampers.com.
About Bright Beginnings
At Pampers, caring for babies is more than just our purpose, it’s in our DNA. We believe a baby’s earliest days are essential toward shaping a bright beginning, and are committed to supporting their happy, healthy development right from the start. Through the Pampers Bright Beginnings program, we serve babies and their families by removing barriers that hinder early success and development, and enhancing access to resources, tools and support.