CULLMAN, Ala. – Each year, the month of September is set aside as Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Awareness Month. On Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs officially proclaimed the month of September 2020 NICU Awareness Month in the city of Cullman.
“I am honored to proclaim NICU Awareness Month,” said Jacobs. “My son, Tyler, was a NICU baby so I know firsthand how families of NICU babies feel and what amazing work NICU doctors and nurses do.”
NICU Awareness Month was established in 2014 by Project Sweet Peas, a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit organization coordinated by volunteers who, through personal experience, have become passionate about supporting families of premature or sick infants and families who have been affected by pregnancy and infant loss. Project Sweet Peas created NICU Awareness Month for the purpose of honoring families experiencing a stay in the NICU, recognizing and commending the health professionals who care for them, increasing awareness of the challenges faced in the NICU, and striving to expand resources to NICUs nationwide.
On hand to accept the proclamation from Jacobs on behalf of Project Sweet Peas were Carrie Tyler and Savanna Robison. With them were their children, Braelyn Tyler and Sadie Jane Robison, who were both born at 24 weeks gestation and were NICU patients themselves.
“I am thankful for what these ladies do to help families who have babies in the NICU,” said Jacobs. “They’ve been through it themselves and know what families in these situations need, and I know those families appreciate them and for the Project Sweet Peas organization.”
According to the National Perinatal Association (NPA) more than a half million babies are admitted to the NICU in the U.S. for complications related to prematurity, birth anomalies, brain injury, cardiac conditions, infection, jaundice, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), respiratory distress, and other conditions. Nearly half of all babies in the NICU are born at normal birth weight and are 37 weeks gestation or older. Most NICU babies have special needs that last longer than their NICU stay, and many will have special health and developmental needs that last a lifetime.
Project Sweet Peas seeks to promote family-centered care (FCC) competencies in hospitals nationwide. They coordinate care packages, hospital events, peer-to-peer support, financial aid, educational materials, and other services to support families as they endure life in the NICU. Project Sweet Peas also supports families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss by encouraging families to make cherished memories with custom keepsake items and by continuing to foster healing and remembrance through peer-to-peer support and annual candlelight vigils. Find out more about Project Sweet Peas by visiting projectsweetpeas.com or by emailing email@example.com.
The NPA is an organization of professionals, parents, and advocates that strives to be the leading voice in perinatal care. Their mission is to educate, advocate, and integrate all voices with equality and respect to support pregnant people, infants, their families, and the professionals who care for them. They also partner with healthcare, government, and nonprofit organizations to create positive change in perinatal care. Find out more about the National Perinatal Association at nationalperinatal.org.
Both Project Sweet Peas and the National Perinatal Association encourage people to celebrate NICU Awareness Month by showing appreciation to NICU staff, sharing stories or pictures of their NICU graduates to inspire hope, doing random acts of kindness or wearing green in honor of the NICU babies in their lives, or by finding ways to join in on one of the following observances:
- 26: NICU Remembrance Day
- 27: NICU Giving Day
- 28: NICU Staff Recognition Day
- 29: Sibling Support Day
- 30: NICU Awareness Day
For more information on NICU Awareness Month go to nationalperinatal.org/NICU_Awareness.