Esther Akhile, Professor Michael O’Connell, Master of The Coombe Hospital, and Aoife McDonnell, Book Gifting Manager at Children’s Books Ireland, as The Coombe hosts its first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Babies With Books Read-A-Thon Image: Orla Murray

Babies With Books, Coombe Hospital

The maternity hospital starts a new initiative to encourage parents to read to their newborns to encourage brain development and bonding


Business, Life

The Coombe Hospital is hosting its first Babies With Books NICU Read-A-Thon, which started on Monday September 11th and will run until Thursday 21st. With books donated from Friends of the Coombe and Children’s Books Ireland, parents and families in NICU are being encouraged to read to their baby to develop a deeper parent-baby bond and encourage brain development.

Families and babies taking part will each receive a book kindly donated by Friends of the Coombe and Children’s Books Ireland to read for the duration of the Read-A-Thon. Each baby will receive a certificate of participation to commemorate the special occasion and will be able to keep their donated book for life.

The Babies With Books Read-A-Thon marks an opportunity for families to celebrate the joy of reading, while helping to encourage their baby’s brain development. According to research from the American Academy of Paediatrics, reading to babies as well as talking and singing stimulates brain development, building language and literacy skills while strengthening the parent-child relationship.

Commenting on the initiative, the Master of The Coombe Hospital Prof Michael O’Connell said: “Research shows that reading to babies early in their developmental stages has proven benefits, with links to cognitive development and stronger brain connections. Premature babies develop most while in NICU and we feel it is important to highlight the benefits of reading to not only encourage growth, but also nurture a closer bond between parents and their babies with the sound of a calming and familiar voice. We are very grateful for the support from Friends of the Coombe and Children’s Books Ireland for this special initiative and look forward to seeing families celebrate the joy of reading with their babies in NICU over the coming days.”

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