Most stays in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are unplanned, but Kate Arquilla, NICU Nurse and founder of Bumble Baby, a company focused on helping new moms prep for their newborns, says there are a few essential items you can have a friend or family member bring to make your stay more comfortable—for both you and your baby.
Hang in there mama, your little one is so lucky to have you!
Clothing + Blankets
Bringing in your own hats, clothes and blankets for baby can help normalize the NICU experience. Monica + Andy’s Hello Baby Top and Hello Baby pants come in preemie sizing and the kimono style top easily allow for monitor cords. Their top knot hats can be tied at different spots to adjust to fit any baby!
Once your baby is stable and out of the incubator—typically around 33 weeks gestation—soft and classical music can help calm the baby, stimulate brain neurons, and normalize vital signs. Some parents record their own voices singing or talking to their little one to play when they’re not able to be at the hospital. Music therapists are also a a great resource to play soft music at the bedside.
Toiletries + Nail File
Believe it or not, it’s against most hospital policies to cut babies’ nails. If your little one has a longer than expected stay in the NICU, you’ll want to bring along a nail file to keep nails dull and short and to prevent scratching.
Things like scented lotion are considered “cosmetic” and typically are not provided for your newborn. You may want to consider bringing along a hypoallergenic soap and lotion to soothe your baby. Additionally, pack a moisturizer for yourself to prevent dry and cracked hands due to constant hand washing.
You’re going to have a million questions going through your head during your NICU journey. A journal can help keep track of all those questions until a nurse or doctor is around to answer them. It’s also a great place to jot down important medical information, milestones, and personal thoughts. You’ll find it empowering to look back on all the progress your little one has made during their stay!
Leaving a disposable camera with the nurses is a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on any important milestones while you’re away from the hospital.
Some babies respond to what we call a “snoodle”. This is a small piece of fabric (a burp cloth works great) that parents wear under their clothes during the day and then leave with the baby overnight. The parents’ scent on the fabric is incredibly calming for baby!