15 Gift Ideas for Parents with babies in NICU
Our twins were born at 30+4 and were both in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or also known as Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU), Henry only for 6 weeks followed by 2 weeks in Special Care and Archie was in the NICU until he was term and then transferred over to Queensland Children’s Hospital for the remainder of his short, yet inspiring life.
You can read more about Archie’s Story by clicking here.
What is NICU?
The NICU is not something I had ever heard of before I needed to know about it. The NICU is dedicated primarily to premature babies that aren’t quite physically and developmentally developed and are unable to transition to the outside environment as well as full-term babies. I say primarily because during our time in the NICU we did see a couple of term babies who required additional support.
Looking for gift ideas for parents with babies in NICU?
This is a question we get asked a lot now. Reflecting on our 5.5 months of living at a hospital, there are a number of things that made that journey that little bit easier, and it was thanks to those family and friends, and sometimes strangers who gave us the most useful gifts.
NICU Milestone Cards
I would recommend Miracle Mumma. We were gifted some by a complete stranger and they became so very special to us. It is not normally something you buy in advance of having a baby, but when your baby hits those incredible milestones, it’s nice to have a card for your pictures and memories.
Parking at a hospital costs an absolute fortune. After my cesarean, catching public transport or walking to the hospital was out of the question for a month or so. We were paying $110 every 5 days for parking and the costs added up very quickly.
After you’re discharged and you are spending every single day at the hospital, you head home in the evening to try and get some sleep… in between pumping every 3 hours for your baby/babies… and it is hard to think about yourself and your nutrition. We had friends deliver some frozen meals to us so we just had to reheat when we got home. We were also given vouchers for Deliveroo (this link will give you $12 off your first four orders) and Uber Eats so we could get some meals delivered.
Most NICU babies aren’t wearing outfits for a while, but when they do, I can nearly guarantee you that unless they were expecting a premature baby, they will not have the right size clothing. I had a bundle of 00000 size outfits, which were still too big for my boys when they were able to be dressed, but it was so nice to have something for them. They will need to be outfits that have buttons to allow for the numerous medical leads that are attached to the little one. Also check out Miracle Mumma who have specially designed little outfits that are suitable for the cables too.
Premature Baby Record Book
When we purchased ours, there was nothing out there! We had to order our book from the US and is called The Littlest Peanut Book. Now, Miracle Mumma has tapped into what is very much needed and has her own range of record keeping books for premature babies. Check out her books here.
We were gifted ours by a wonderful group of preemie parents after we lost Archie. It was arranged through Miracle Mumma and is absolutely perfect.
I ordered a Premmie Doll for each of my boys. It is really nice to see how far they have come since being born as such an early gestation. Miracle Mumma sell these and they are a really great quality. There is usually a wait list (as you can imagine these are very popular). The dolls are the exact height and weight as your baby when they were born.
When you are finally able to take your baby outside, you need to be super careful as their little tiny bodies are prone to picking up every infection going around. These pram tags by Miracle Mumma are a wonderful addition to your pram.
I know this one sounds a bit weird. But I was pumping for twins and was barely getting enough milk for the both of them. In addition to medication, a friend told me about Lactation Cookies and made me a double batch of cookie dough I could just pop into the oven when I was ready. They helped me a lot with my milk supply and saved me heaps of time by not having to make heaps myself. They cost quite a lot of money to buy packets from the shop so I found it cost effective to make them myself. Here is a recipe I used.
Just be there. Send a message every now and then so they know you’re thinking about them. They may not have time to reply but knowing they have a huge support crew ready for when they need is so important. Quite often bubs born early don’t get the typical congratulatory start to life as term babies. Friends and family are likely to be unsure of what to say to new parents of a prem bub as their journey can be so uncertain. Remember to acknowledge the birth of their baby/babies and congratulate them. Normal happiness tends to be forgotten.
Reusable Drink bottle
Staying hydrated is so important and often forgotten. I would recommend a reusable 1L or 2L drink bottle, like a Tupperware one that they can take with them every day, or leave at the hospital for each morning.
The simple things that just can’t be done. After spending all day at the hospital, it would be so nice to come home to a clean house. Either a cleaning voucher, arrange someone to come around, or offer to do this yourself (but instead of asking, just say you will be at their place at say 7.30am before they head off and will leave the keys in a safe space). Try not to let them say no! They will thank you for it in the long run.
If the family has a toddler at home, offer to babysit or take the child for a sleepover.
Grocery / Coffee delivery
Dropping off a ‘real’ coffee at the hospital, a sandwich for lunch or snacks for the day would be really helpful. Also offer to do a grocery shop so they have fresh groceries for at home.
Handsfree pumping bra
Something that most will need to rush out and buy. Check the sizing first as that is pretty important but I used the Medela one and it was a critical item that is used every 3 hours for up to months on end.
Do you have any suggestions of items that should be added to this list? Please let me know in the comments below.
To read more about our family, some tips and tricks if you’re travelling with a family, click here!