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Junior MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo may have welcomed his baby girl, Isla Generosa into the world only weeks ago but today he is reflecting on the premature arrival of his son two-and-a-half years ago.
Taking to Instagram, the father-of-four has penned a lengthy essay which gives an insight into what it was like seeing his boy, Alfie arrive two months early.
Alongside a black-and-white picture of tiny Alfie inside his incubator in the neonatal intensive care unit, Jock writes:
“Our family took a moment this morning to acknowledge a day that we hope most families don’t have to think about – World Prematurity Day.
“Our little Alfie was born two months early, weighed 1.2kgs, and spent the first 5 weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). He’s now a happy healthy little boy, just the same as most other 2.5 year olds. Those very difficult weeks sometimes feel like a lifetime ago, and on days like today feel very vivid to us,” he shares.
Jock’s son Alfie was born two months premature and weighed only 1.2 kilograms.
Jock continues with some sage advice for others who may be struggling today.
“If you know any families who have lost their little ones through prematurity or stillborn, for those who are in NICU now, living with the impact of prematurity, or are lucky enough to have their healthy bub at home with them, reach out to them today,” he says.
Then, passing on some of the advice he and his wife, Lauren Fried received while Alfie was in NICU, from other parents and midwives and some they picked up themselves, Jock writes:
“Take one day at a time, don’t look too far in front or worry about the future, just enjoy each moment you can cuddle or touch your little one.
“There’s no need to feel guilty if you’re not by their bed 24/7. Life keeps moving forward and sometimes you just need a night on the couch at home or to sleep in, that’s ok.
“Try not to ask the Dr when your little one is going home, the answer always seems so far away and uncertain.
“Invite friends and family in to see your little one (if allowed). People tend to stay away and you can feel isolated and like there’s no celebration or joy around your bub.
“You have no choice but to be in NICU which is filled with unwell babies, your friends/family may not be able to handle this and their choice to not visit should be respected.
“Stay strong between the two of you – it’s ok to talk and dream about your little one’s life even if you’re not 100% certain that it will be possible.”
Jock finishes his essay with a simple wish:
“And be kind to the midwives, they’re literally keeping your little one alive.”
Jock shares two-year-old, Alfie and five-week-old, Isla with his second wife, Lauren. He also has two teenage daughters, Ava and Sophia, from a previous relationships.
What is World Prematurity Day?
World Prematurity Day is observed on 17 November each year to raise awareness of preterm birth and the concerns of preterm babies and their families worldwide. Approximately 15 million babies are born preterm each year, accounting for about one in 10 of all babies born worldwide.