When a baby is born prematurely or with health complications, it can be an incredibly challenging and emotional time for the whole family. As a friend or family member, you may be wondering how you can support your loved ones during this difficult time. One way to show your support and care is by giving thoughtful gifts that can help make their journey a little bit easier.
Here are some gift ideas for loved ones with a baby in the NICU:
1. NICU Clothing
Preemies and micropreemies often require specialized clothing that can accommodate their small size and medical equipment. Gifting preemie-sized onesies, shirts, and pants can help parents ensure that their baby is comfortable and properly dressed.
It's important to look for clothing that is designed specifically for the NICU, such as those from Itty Bitty Baby or Perfectly Preemie, with openings for medical equipment and snaps that make it easier to dress the baby.
2. Kangaroo Care Wraps
Kangaroo care, which involves skin-to-skin contact between a parent and a baby, has been shown to provide many benefits for premature and medically fragile infants. Gifting a kangaroo care wrap can help parents provide this important form of care to their baby while also freeing up their hands to read or relax.
3. Bonding Hearts
Bonding hearts, also known as NICU lovies, are small flannel hearts that can be placed between a parent and a baby during kangaroo care or other forms of close contact. In addition, parents can wear these close to their body to acquire their scent and leave them with the baby to offer comfort when the parent is away.
These hearts provide a comforting and soothing sensation for the baby and help promote bonding between the parent and baby. There are many shops selling NICU bonding hearts, or you can elect to sew your own.
4. NICU Octopuses
NICU octopuses are small crocheted or knitted octopuses that are designed to comfort premature babies. The tentacles of the octopus mimic the umbilical cord, providing a comforting and familiar sensation for the baby. Gifting a NICU octopus can help provide comfort and reduce stress for both the baby and the parents.
5. NICU Journals
Keeping a journal during a baby's NICU stay can be a helpful way for parents to process their emotions and document their baby's progress. Gifting a NICU journal can be a thoughtful way to encourage parents to reflect on their experiences and provide a record of their baby's journey.
Look for journals that are specifically designed for parents of NICU babies and provide prompts for reflection and gratitude, such as this one from Miracle Mumma.
6. Vented Bottles
Many premature babies require specialized bottles that can help reduce the risk of feeding and breathing difficulties. Vented bottles, such as Dr. Brown's, can help prevent air bubbles from forming in the milk or formula, reducing the risk of gas and spitting up.
Gifting a set of vented bottles can help parents ensure that their baby is getting the best possible nutrition and comfort during feeding times.
7. NICU Doula Service
Having a baby in the NICU can be a stressful and emotional experience, and parents may benefit from the support of a NICU doula. A NICU doula can provide emotional support, help parents navigate the NICU environment, and provide guidance and education about their baby's medical care. Gifting a NICU doula service can be a meaningful way to support your loved ones and help them feel more empowered and informed during their NICU journey.
Having a baby in the NICU can be a challenging and emotional experience for the whole family. As a friend or family member, it's important to show your support and care in any way you can. By giving thoughtful and useful gifts, you can help make this difficult journey a little bit easier for your loved ones.
Whether it's providing specialized clothing, promoting bonding through kangaroo care, or helping document their baby's journey through a journal, every gift can make a difference. And if you're looking for a truly meaningful and impactful gift, consider paying for a NICU doula service, which can provide invaluable emotional and practical support for parents during their time in the NICU.