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Paying tribute to our Valued Volunteers - Rosa

In January of this year, seemingly out of the blue, I received a call from my friend Rosa. Rosa was the first stranger I ever spoke to about my vision for ReadyStepGrow – long before there was a name. Her enthusiasm was immediate. And it was just the encouragement I needed. The momentum had begun.

At the time of this call, little did I know, the previous year, Rosa had been waiting and willing ReadyStepGrow to secure charity status. Once we did she was ON! And she called to say, "I want to help. I've got six months and I want to do as much as I possibly can to see that ReadyStepGrow succeeds." She was not joking. True to her word, in six months, she gave ReadyStepGrow her all.

Rosa was fast. Late January she embraced drop box even though her first response had been 'what box?' She was not only fast. She was steadfast. She eagerly prepared two grant applications and for two whole weeks, after her own young children were in bed, she burned the midnight hours to make the deadlines in February.

In March, she enthusiastically donned an apron for our first minor fundraiser – a Bunning's BBQ. Rosa supplied the ALL important, morale boosting coffees and hot cross buns to kick off this wonderful team-building event. Appreciated! As were her efforts serving sausages for the next three hours.

But in April, we really saw Rosa hit her straps. Quite simply, money was needed to sustain the charitable services of ReadyStepGrow. Rosa's background in finance meant she could confidently create a plan to succeed. A major fundraiser would be the only way and the date was set for May. The week before Mother's Day our first fancy fundraiser would be - a High Tea!

Read more ...

Checking Expressed breast milk (EBM) in NICU & SCN

Neonatal nursing staff aim to partner parents in the care of babies.  So checking expressed breast milk (EBM) with parents in NICUs and SCNs just makes sense. ReadyStepGrow are providing friendly little reminders (designed by the Mum of a prem) to empower parents with this simple practice.

"Please check my EBM with Mum or Dad if they're here."  

Melbourne's Box Hill Hospital have placed an order for 20 to start.  Unit Manager Melissah Burnett writes:

"I love this initiative and have been myself involving parents in checking their babies EBM for many years – I also know that it is quite common practice around the state (based on some discussions at the level II Nurse Unit Manager forums). I think rolling this type of signage will be very helpful to promote the practice." 

If you would like ReadyStepGrow to provide some for your NICU or SCN or (if you are a parent) one for your prem, please get in touch.  We'd love to hear from you and we love empowering parents of prems!

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Today our toddler premmies were immersed in P!NK.  Pink colours, P!NK tunes and pink wristbands as tickets to play!  It was as if a big bag of marshmallows had exploded!  The RSG mantra is - it is about 'exposure' - repeated exposure - for premmies in terms of their cognitive development. This little cutie pie's Mum writes  "Sia had a ball today...she is still asleep. I asked her where her 'pink' was before she went to sleep and she pointed to her wristband!". Well done to all the little ReadyStepGrow premmie todders today exploring the wonderful world of learning and colours and FUN! 

premmie discharged with oxygen

Stepping away from NICU

For most families, a baby born into NICU or the Special Care Nursery is the most stressful event they will experience in their lifetime. Unfortunately, stress has an accumulative effect. Typically, the initial period following a preterm birth is marked by shock as families struggle with the reality of the situation. What follows is anxiety surrounding the baby's condition, length of stay and relationships with the treating team which can make subsequent weeks even more difficult. Finally, families are discharged home and find themselves alone. One Mum in the ReadyStepGrow program said "...and this is when it [the worry] all begins". Another said "things were OK for six months and then it all just hit me". A Dad said recently "After such a long time in hospital we were just waved off at the door - really? Is this the best that can be done? Where is the home visit or call to check in and see if we were Ok? Because we were not".
ReadyStepGrow provides a safe place to land. We know it's been a tough start and we provide families with professional support that bridges time in NICU and Special Care with the real world. Simply staying home seems like the safest idea in the beginning but the long term impact of this early life style can have negative consequences such as a child who has not had opportunities to socialise. If you have a premmie and you are wanting to 'step out' into the world but are not sure how ReadyStepGrow is the place for you.  Everyone involved respects premmies increased need for protection against illnesses and a strict illness policy is observed.

Follow this link to find a ReadyStepGrow program suitable for you

ReadyStepGrow Responding to Research about Preterm Children's Learning Needs

How fantastic to see The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons come together in Scotland to address Educational and Neurodevelopmental Needs of Children Born Preterm.

Reading the accompanying article ignites the same passion in me so many articles that have come before it do. The article's second sentence states "Paediatricians' research has shown premature babies are more likely to have difficulties at school but few teachers are aware of this."

Well this teacher is aware of this! And this is why I have been actively putting together an organisation to specifically address the issues for preterm children and their families.

Our world first organisation, called ReadyStepGrow, propose the simplest thing to do is to educate parents to act early. This is a different viewpoint to "The simplest thing to do is to put a child's gestation on their school entry form," by Dr Matta. 

Read more ...


  • Aimie

    support for premature children Paediatric Occupational Therapist "I found the work you are doing to support premature children and their families, so inspiring. From Read More
  • Andrea

    Sia born at 30 weeks Sia was born in her 30th week. The hospital did everything they could to stop her but she had a Read More
  • Asha & Maya's story

    Asha & Maya's story ReadyStepGrow "helped reduce my girl's separation anxiety and their need to be physically with me all the time, it increased Read More
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Tue Jun 27, 2017 @10:00 - 11:30AM
Tuesday Toddlers (Term 2 2017)
Tue Jul 18, 2017 @10:00 - 11:30AM
Pre-Kindy (Term 3 2017)
Tue Jul 18, 2017 @11:45 - 01:15PM
Tue Baby Prems (Term 3 2017)
Wed Jul 19, 2017 @10:00 - 11:30AM
Toddlers (Term 3 2017)
Wed Jul 19, 2017 @11:45 - 01:15PM
Tiny Premmies (Term 3 2017)

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