nicu babystuff

they're small.. sometimes very small... they're most often attached to tubes and wires... they hear beeping all the time... and they don't get to spend much time with their mommy and daddy the first days or months of life. but, they're babies nonetheless, so we must buy them things.

i've been meaning to do this post for AGES... and really just forgot about it. so, here goes... some ideas for preemie baby gifts.

it's important to remember that most preemies won't be able to wear clothes right away.. and if they are, they'll most likely at least have heart/respiration leads on. but, the day that the baby gets to wear clothes is a HUGE day for the parents. for us, it was the day we felt like we were one huge step closer to having a "normal baby". our nurses were kind enough to allow us "picture time" before the little bird was actually able to be in clothes "full time"... and those are cherished pictures
this is a micro-preemie sized outfit from preemiesrus.com

things to avoid
  • zippers
  • things with lots of smells and/dyes,
  • noise makers, bright colors (until the babies are older than about 32-34 weeks gestation.. though the nicu might make more specific recommendations.)
  • things that are complicated to put on. (if the baby has any breathing needs, a cannula or CPAP, then they will most likely dress them by pulling the clothes up from the bottom, rather than over the head.. so keep that in mind when picking out clothes.)
brands that run small (great for preemies!):
  • gerber
  • ralph lauren
  • carter's child of mine (walmart)
  • carter's
brands that run biggish:
  • circo (target)
  • carter's just one year (target)
  • little wonders (sear's)
  • baby gap
  • children's place
where to shop:
many of those stores don't have a very good online selection, but if you visit a physical location you will have better luck.

my personal recommendations:
  • you can probably avoid buying large quantities of micro-preemie clothes. they are out there- though not super-easy to find... websites like preemiesRus have several sizes of preemie clothes. (the neos and nurses LOVED the clothes that she got from here- they offered easy access, with nicus in mind.) most nicus have a standard of size and ability to control temperature in order to allow the babies to wear clothes. here's the story of wren wearing clothes. she was able to wear clothes around 50ish days.. which was early in our nicu. typically, according to the nurses, babies with BPD (or CLD) "run hotter"... and are able to maintain their temperature earlier. but, i digress.... back on point.. as a preemie mom i was worried to the utmost with the little bird's comfort. i really liked soft and cuddly clothes. and i also liked really cutesy clothes, that looked more like what a newborn would wear... though at first it was nearly impossible to find clothes like that for her. (and oftentimes completely impractical!)
carter's preemie is the brown, walmart preemie the beachy outfit...

blankets etc.
  • we went through SO many blankets.. the very first thing we bought were receiving blankets. mostly to cure my desire to "take care of my baby" that i really couldn't do anything for. as preemie parents, most of us, especially the mommies, want to have cutesy clothes and toys, pictures in the isolette, and matching blankets. now, in my nicu, i was one of the only ones that was on the neurotic side about it. but it was the only control i had over her... in a totally helpless situation. now, my dearest thought i'd lost my mind, crying in target demanding the need for MORE blankets, week after week... but it was a coping mechanism... so, husbands- your wife may be a little crazy.. but she's not the first crazy nicu mom. give her the tools she needs to cope, the "things" she needs for the baby to have to feel loved and wanted. (of course, the little one could care less that i have an organic, vegetable dyed pig in her isolette... but it makes ME feel better... that when someone looks at that isolette they'll think "look, those parents brought a toy... they really care about their daughter".) and those blankets were OURS... a little piece of home in the hospital.. and i cherished every single washing. i would change the blankets every evening when i came in to see her... sometimes in the mornings too- just depending on if they were dirty or not.
  • a nice warm blanket or two are also great. before, or at the beginning of when the baby can be out and be held, other than kangaroo care, it's important that they are kept warm... and they need extra help that a termie baby wouldn't necessarily need. one of our favorite nurses bogarded this blanket for us from the nicu supply. (we were living in hawaii, and it was summer- so warm baby blankets were harder to come by!) it is just a simple fleece tied off blanket, babysized. i'm sure someone donated it to the nicu. it would be a perfect gift! (though seasonal is probably not the best choice... we were using christmas in july. :) the earlybirds travel nest was one of the BEST gifts we got. we didn't use it in the nicu, but as soon as we brought her home she used it.. and is STILL using it. she's at about 12-13lbs now.. and it is getting more on the small side for her. but it was nice even when it totally swallowed her at 4-5lbs. super soft, and snuggly warm.

  • another great thing is washcloths. they really are a necessity for bathing- when the baby is ready for that.. but in the mean time the parents can wear them and leave them in the isolette to let the baby get their smell. it's supposedly a tool for connection, in a time when you can't really hold your baby all that much. according to research, babies recognize their mother's smell immediately... and discern it from others.. even frequent caregivers. (though i'm not sure how they tested that. :)
  • hats are SOOO important.. keep in mind too that preemie heads run a little big. wren's head never quite fit into micro-preemie hats too well... long before she outgrew micro-preemie clothes. preemie sized stretchy hats are a great choice. or small looking newborn sizes for older preemies...

here's a picture with some matching blankets... and her beanie babies....

toys and developmental items
  • a comparison toy... this is something you might spend a little more money on.. and take pictures every day/week/month next to it.
  • beanie babies... these were AWESOME.. as you can see from the picture above, they really aided in our daughter being able to sleep on her back. (preemies have a harder time breathing on their backs, and generally prefer to be on their stomachs. this is one of the reasons for "toaster head".) they are also great for mimicking "containment" and making the babies feel safe.
  • these hands are the same general idea.. but cooler.
  • black and white developmental pictures for the isolette. it's really neat to take a family photo (a simple one) and use editing software to turn it to a high contrast black and white. (even photobucket has this ability.)
  • a mobile with bright colors. make sure the mobile faces downward, toward the baby. (many face outward, to be visible looking at it from the side, rather than from below.) wind up is ok, battery operated is better- this gives the nurses a break.
  • remember that when they are little, especially micro-preemies, can't be overstimulated. so if you're thinking of picking up regular "toys" don't be surprised if they aren't able to use them or let the baby play with them until they are much older (approximately 34 weeks+), even out of the nicu.
great ideas and websites
  • nicu hospital box
  • earlybirds
  • pacifiers
  • scrapbook (or here)
  • nicu journal or calendar
  • a baby monitor for when they go home. the angelcare will give the parents the most peace of mind.
  • a nice sign with the baby's name for the isolette
  • cd's or soft classical music loaded on ipod
  • a voice recorder for the parents to record stories and music and leave for the nurses to play
  • a mobile for the open crib (when the baby gets out of the isolette- stick to bright colors)
  • preemie things
  • kangaroo care shirt
  • books (it can be anything... just so the baby gets to hear their parents voice. oftentimes when you can't hold your baby, it's nice to be able to connect with them in some way.)

hope this helps! if you have any ideas, or received any great gifts for your little one... please feel free to comment!

                  1 comment:

                  AilynRose said...

                  Ailyn had this same outfit :) I loved preemiesrus!