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I will always remember going to visit my niece in hospital when she was born very premature. The staff at the hospital were unbelievable and the knowledge, understanding, technology and medicine that they were able to use quite literally saved her life and she is now a thriving 13 year old, full of opinions and intelligence. It’s quite simply amazing. I have a wonderful friend who has gorgeous twins that came too early, and thanks to the treatment they received at birth, they are now advancing, growing and my friend’s pride and joy is unending.

So, when I heard that Elave Skincare and TinyLife had joined forces to launch the annual #Premvember campaign as part of the premature baby charity’s 30th Anniversary celebrations, I really wanted to make sure I shared it on my blog because just like mine, so many families are affected by premature birth.

Every day in Northern Ireland six babies come into the world too soon, some arriving as early as 24 weeks and weighing as little as 1lb. That is 1,800 premature babies born every year!

TinyLife CEO Alison McNulty says: Thirty years ago, 70% of premature babies didn’t make it – today around 88% survive and TinyLife funds vital research to give these babies the best start in life.

“We also provide a range of family support services, including breast pump loan, hospital to home volunteer programme, family activity groups, support for dads, baby massage and baby sensory.    

“This year, we are partnering with specialist skincare range Elave Baby in a joint effort to encourage the public to get behind TinyLife’s #Premvember campaign & 30th Anniversary celebrations to raise awareness and funding for premature babies.

We are delighted to confer Approved By status on Elave Baby and to recommend the product range, which banishes harsh ingredients that trigger sensitivity such as soap, sulfates, MI, parabens, alcohol, perfumes and colours, for use on baby skin.

The skin of prem babies is extremely sensitive, making it prone to dryness and itchy skin conditions like rashes and eczema, so knowing a clinically proven, completely ‘free from’ product is available can alleviate worry about what to use.”

The Gardiner family’s apothecary skincare creams were created in Newry over 80 years ago. Elave Baby, now produced in Co Louth, is available from local pharmacies, online at www.elaveskincare.com or via Amazon. A donation of £1 from every Baby Essentials Pack sold goes to support the work of TinyLife.

Joanna Gardiner, CEO of Elave Skincare, said: “We are very impressed with TinyLife and what the organisation has achieved, so we are delighted to be able to support their work in the run-up to Premvember and over the 30th Anniversary year.

“Parents of premature babies are already experiencing a lot of stress, anxiety and trauma, so the last thing they need to worry about on top of that is what they are putting on their child’s skin.

Baby’s skin barrier is not fully formed until they are three years old so how we treat skin, especially skin which may already be dry and sensitive, can have health implications for the rest of our lives.

“The incidence of baby eczema in Northern Ireland and across the island has risen from 3% to 25% inside two generations, a statistic which medical experts put down to harm caused by environmental pollutants and harsh chemicals.

“It is clear, in the run-up to National Eczema Week, that we need to be more mindful about how we prevent and manage sensitive skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. Using the purest products, from top to toe, is where you start.”

#Premvember invites people to arrange a Tea Party at their home or workplace, or an event or their choice, anytime during the month of November.

Fundraisers can register and request a fundraising pack with downloadable invites, bunting, posters etc at www.buytickets.at/tinylife.

Events to celebrate #Premvember include a Family Fun Day at Mossley Mill on World Prematurity Day (17th Nov) and an 80s Tribute Band in David Lloyd Clubs, Belfast (30th Nov).

The TinyLife 30th celebrations will conclude next Spring with an Anniversary Pearl Ball sponsored by Kennys, Elave Baby and Malone Lodge Hotel, Belfast.

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