New parents of a premature or sick infant are faced with many challenges and fears as they navigate their way through their NICU experience. Oftentimes, these parents are scared and bewildered; connecting with a mother who has experienced such an ordeal with her own child can be incredibly helpful and reassuring.
Our SPIN program encourages mother-to-mother support, with experienced mothers (mothers who themselves have had a premature or sick infant) — called SPIN Mommas — volunteering their services. SPIN Mommas not only provide unique and much-needed support to new NICU mothers, they also help these new mothers find ways to resolve milk production difficulties and improve their infant feeding practices. We encourage all of our mothers to pump milk for their premature or ill infants to give the baby the healthiest start possible.
Supporting Mothers and Families
While SPIN Mommas are volunteers, they have been trained in premature infant nutrition, mother’s milk production, safe milk handling and support of the family in crisis. The focus of the SPIN Mommas Program is not to provide medical advice; instead, the aim is to support mothers (and families) in need and encourage the production of human milk for highly at-risk infants.
The lead volunteer for our SPIN Mommas program, Stephanie Lehman, is the mother of two graduates of the UC San Diego Health System’s NICU and she is committed to helping families who face the difficult NICU journey ahead. Dr. Lehman not only helps to support and educate new NICU moms as a SPIN Momma, she also works closely with our NICU staff to develop training materials (available on the right) for our volunteers and to assist and monitor our volunteers.
All SPIN Mommas will create Shutterfly photo books of their NICU experiences. They will use these books as a means by which to introduce themselves and their stories to new NICU moms.
By sharing experiences and pictures of their own premature/sick infants, volunteers can connect and develop rapport with new NICU moms and help them to develop hope, expectations, and a glimpse of the future. In addition, volunteers will help new moms create photo books to capture their own NICU memories.
Funding for the photo books was generously donated by the Mia Risa Foundation.