The mums of two of Barnet Hospital’s  ‘Starlight Superstars’ – babies who have been discharged home from the Starlight neonatal unit – have shared a moving video to help new parents struggling due to COVID-19.

Mums Lucy and Kunal both had their babies preterm, meaning that they needed extra care from the neonatal team at Barnet Hospital’s Starlight unit. With their children now back home, they have recorded a message of support and advice for other parents.

Lucy’s new-born, Grace, stayed on Starlight unit for two and a half months before she was able to be discharged.

Starlight Superstar Grace

Lucy hopes that she can help others by sharing some of her coping strategies:

“Take each day one at a time. No journey is straight forward or simple, and you’re not alone if that’s your experience too. If you have questions or need somebody to speak to, you can always call the Starlight team. They are happy to talk to you, and there is no such thing as a stupid question - so ask away.”

For Kunal’s son, Khaiya, the first five months of life were spent in different hospitals across London, with Starlight unit eventually becoming what Kunal described as his “second home”. One of the things that helped her was building a network:

“Swap numbers with parents on the ward if you’re able to. This was a lifeline to me, and those are the friendships I’ve lent on since bringing Khaiya home.”

“Be kind to yourself,” she added. “It can be horrible to feel as though things are out of your control, but it’s important to take the time to rest and focus on those things that will get you through.”

It is never easy for new parents to be separated from their children, and with the extra restrictions put in place during COVID-19 there has been a need to find new and creative ways to keep families connected.

Parents now receive an information pack full of useful advice to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Royal Free London neonatal team are also using digital technology such as vCreate to give parents regular photo and video updates, so that they can see more of their baby outside of visiting hours.

Finally, there is lots of support available from the parents who have already had their children discharged. As well as the thoughtful video from Kunal and Lucy, current and veteran parents are brought together through the Starlight Superstars peer support group. This means that families are able to share their experiences, support one another and celebrate milestones for our Starlight superstars.

Watch the full video here:

Parents can also download our neonatal information pack here.