The last thing on most parents’ minds when that little pink (or blue) line pops up on the pregnancy test is the possibility of a NICU stay. When we discovered we were having our first set of twins in 2008, the possibility of being a NICU Mom never even entered my mind. Not even when I ended up in the hospital at 20 weeks with a shortened cervix. It didn’t even occur to me the day I delivered. Not until I was met by the anesthesiologist in the hallway and c-section consent forms were being shoved in our faces, did I finally understand that I was going to have babies.
And the babies were going to be really really little. What was a NICU again?
According to the March of Dimes, 1 in every 10 babies in the United States are born too soon. So chances are you will know someone in your life who is facing an extended NICU stay. We just finished up our second NICU stay this spring when our second set of 28 week twin boys came home from the NICU after 53 days so I kinda feel like a #NICUPro. Friends and family of NICU parents sometimes don’t know what to say or do when a baby comes early, especially if the baby is a micropreemie or really sick. The best thing you can say is, “Congratulations! We are praying for you.”
What to do can be a little tricky. Lucky for you, I’m a #NICUPro (I’m totally making my own hashtag). If a family you know is facing a long NICU stay, here are 10 Perfect Gift Ideas.
(1) Visa (or MasterCard) Gift Cards. These were a God send during our long stay. I ate lunch at the hospital every day and these Gift Cards SAVED my monthly budget. They also came in handy for gas.
(2) Starbucks Gift Card. Because every NICU Mom needs a pick me up from time to time.
(3) Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets. Hospital blankets suck. I hated how stiff they were. These were some of my most cherished gifts. I LOVE these Vintage Circus ones.
(4) Essential Oils. Get with your favorite Young Living Rep and create some perfect blends for the stressed out NICU Mom. Don’t have a YL girl, yet? My girl Jenna, founder of Blessed is She has some fantastic recommendations, including Tranquil and Stress Away. Pop on over here, sign up as a retail customer and buy your NICU Mom some delicious essential oils.
(5) Disposable Camera. You are probably like, say WHAT? Are those even around any more? The answer is YES! Here’s the thing, NICU mamas want to be at their baby’s side 24/7, but that just isn’t going to happen. Nor is it good for that to happen. A disposable camera is perfect way for nurses to take pictures of their cutey pies, when mama isn’t around. Click here to get one from Amazon.
(6) One-time Housecleaning Service. No explanation needed. Perfect for a group of girlfriends to go in on and your NICU mama will be so grateful.
(7) Plastic Water Cup with Lid & Straw. Because itty bitty styrofoam coffee cups are no bueno and your NICU mom is probably going to be pumping round the clock. Girl needs to stay hydrated.
(8) Thank You Cards.
(9) Coupons for Child Care for other children. If the NICU Mom has other kiddos at home, the NICU journey can be even more challenging. Offer Coupons for free childcare and INSIST that she take you up on it. Call each week and ask, What day can I watch your kiddo?
(10) Offer to start a meal train for the family. It is super easy and takes literally 5 minutes. You just need the family’s address, dietary restrictions, dates for meals to be dropped off and favorite restaurants (for gift cards and take out). My favorite service is Meal Train.
This is certainly a non-exhaustive list and I can safely say that any gift you want to give a NICU Mom or Dad would be very much appreciated. The NICU can often be a lonely place and sometimes just the gift of your presence is gift enough.
NICU Moms or Dads, do you have any more ideas to add? Toss ’em in the comment box.