1. Boppy Pillow
I know that people are divided on whether they like their Boppy, but in the NICU, it's awesome! I started working on feeding with Dylan when he was about 3 pounds. I would fold a pillow double under him to get him higher. It worked, but wasn't very easy. The Boppy rests on the arms of the rocker/glider at the perfect height to allow Dylan to breastfeed or bottle feed. It soft for me and for him...great for after feeding naps!
2. A Lovey
We got this one from Pottery Barn for Christmas-time. (Dylan has 3.) In the beginning, when baby is in the isolette, it's very comforting to see something that's not hospital gear. I'm sure he didn't even notice, but it made me happy!
Here is Dylan with his: (at 4 weeks old, 29 weeks adjusted)
3. Clothes that Snap
NICU babies have lots of cords attached to them, so zippers just won't work. Also, while babies are on Oxygen, over the head clothing requires a nurse's help. So sleepers with snaps are the best. Cute, cuddly, and hospital friendly.
4. Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets
Hospital blankets are rough! And not too pretty either. I feel more like a normal mom when I'm holding Dylan with an A&A Swaddle Blanket. They are so soft and cute! The light, large fabric with a little bit of stretch is so much easier to swaddle with!
I know people talk about nipple confusion with pacifiers, but in the NICU, these are physical therapy! (And the hospital supplies them.) Dylan has been given pacifiers long before he was allowed to try a bottle. They help strengthen his suck reflex as well as calm him. He gets a mixture of breast, bottle, and paci and does just fine.
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If you have a near-term baby or are going to be in the NICU awhile, your LO could use some developmental toys.
I got this Fisher Price mirror yesterday at Target for $3.97! It was a total clearance score. Dylan's only had it for one day, but he loves it. Babies love looking at faces. As much time as I spend at the NICU, he's alone a lot too. Most of the time he's sleeping, but if he's awake, I like that he has something fun to look at. He also loves staring at a little stuffed monkey one of his nurses got him for Christmas. : )
I haven't taken it in yet, but this is the mobile we got for Dylan. Another thing for him to look at when he's awake.
Dylan gets baths a couple of times a week. He used to fit in the little yellow hospital tub, but he's getting too big! I keep forgetting to take his tub in, but when I do it will definitely make bath time more enjoyable!
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And here are a couple of preemie-specific items.
9. Bean Bag
These are all home-made bean bags. I was lucky to have one that was made by a nurse. They are essential to keeping a micro preemie comfortable. The bean bag is placed over the baby's lower body to help keep them in a good position (legs together, tucked) and to add some weight to keep them more comfortable. The womb is much cozier!
10. Preemie Baby Book
There are so many things that make preemie moms feel alienated from the "regular" moms. Baby books are just one small thing. This book was written by NICU nurses and includes space for things like daily weight updates, the day baby graduated to an open crib...there's even a spot to paste the "sunglasses" baby wore under bili lights to prevent jaundice! It's really cool and I love having it.
These items, along with a few personalized touches around the room, have really helped make the NICU feel more like home. If you have any further hints for NICU moms, post below!