Books for Babies rolled out to all newborns born in South Eastern Sydney Local Health District

Books for bubs: Nurse Tina Burtenshaw and new mum Melissa Delaney with baby Dakota. Picture: Chris Lane
Books for bubs: Nurse Tina Burtenshaw and new mum Melissa Delaney with baby Dakota. Picture: Chris Lane

Story time will begin soon after birth for all newborn babies born at St George and Sutherland hospitals.

Every baby born during August this year will get a children’s book as a welcome gift into the world.

The ‘Books for Babies’ initiative is a donation drive launched by South Eastern Sydney Local Health District for Book Week (August 18-24).

Throughout July, nurses and midwives donated more than 850 new books to new bubs – from early learning numbers and letters, to classic Australian tales by Mim Fox and May Gibbs.

Families of multi-cultural backgrounds will also benefit from the drive, as many of the books are written in languages other than English, including Chinese and Arabic.

About 700 babies are expected to be born across the district this month.

Books for Babies is part of the ‘WE CARE’ project, which seeks to support hospital staff give back to the community and build strong connections with families.

It is also driven by a strategic plan developed by staff to enhance workplace culture.

Director of nursing and midwifery services, Kim Olesen, says the initiative aims to build compassionate relationships with patients and promote a love of reading.

“There are many benefits to reading together for both parents and children,” she said.

“Research suggests parental reading to children can increase a child’s literacy and other cognitive skills, up to the age of 10 to 11 and beyond.

“Likewise, reading is an activity which helps parents to spend quality time and bond with their children. 

“Reading to children at a young age can boost their long-term schooling outcomes regardless of a family’s social, economic or cultural background.

“This means that donating books is a meaningful way for our staff to support all babies who’re born with our district beyond the physical and emotional care they receive when using facility services.”