“My visits to the neonatal unit of the Luton & Dunstable hospital usually start with introducing myself as a volunteer ICAN Ambassador to parents I haven’t met before, or by catching up with parents that I’ve met in the neonatal unit.
“With parents I meet for the first time, I offer a brief explanation of what I do including helping parents to understand the importance of communicating and talking with their babies, and the ways they can do this. I explain that at this age, babies will respond to their parents talking to them and singing to them. I also provide a brief outline of services available to them if they live in Luton and where to get more information.
“For parents that I’ve met before, I usually have a catch up with them to see how they and their baby is doing. I’ve read to older siblings on the ward whilst parents tend to their baby or speak to doctors or nurses.
“When the wards get a little quieter, I’ve read to babies that have had a feed and a change of clothes (if they are still awake). There is one little boy who has been there a while now, and he really does respond when I read to him.
“What I do depends on how much the parents ask. Sometimes parents are reluctant to engage, which is fine. I let them know the day and times I’m around if they want more information later or if they just want a chat.”
For more information about ICAN volunteers contact Sharon Hill on firstname.lastname@example.org