Gifts For Parents of Preemies
I had my daughter 4 weeks before her due date. Our hospital bag was packed, but only with her clothes. I knew what I wanted her to wear home. I had two pinker than pink outfits picked out for her. Nothing for me. When it was time to go home, no one had brought me clean clothes. I went home in the same clothing I had gone into labor in. It was not pleasant.
Not being prepared for a new child's arrival leaves parents scrambling. As a mother of a pre-term baby, I have a few thoughtful gift ideas for the parents who got the gift of a new child a few weeks, even months, early.
If baby didn’t get to come home, they may be doing a lot of driving back and forth to the NICU. Have a few of the parents’ friends or co-workers take up a collection for the card. With gas costs constantly rising, this will be a gift of great economic relief.
If they have no transportation to get to the hospital, offer to drop off or pick them up at the hospital.
RESTAURANT OR SUPERMARKET GIFT CARDS
Eating out is very expensive. Giving restaurant or supermarket gift cards can differ some of the cost and also offer them options for food they may not have had otherwise.
You can also check with the hospital to see if they have a cafeteria gift card or voucher you can purchase for them to pick up something in a pinch.
If you can't afford a gift card, gathering the information of the local restaurants that deliver to the hospital or are in close proximity and getting menus is thoughtful.
A CHANGE OF CLOTHES
Parents don't always leave the NICU or the hospital. Choosing to sleep wherever they can. Offer to get a change of clothes from their place and bring them to the hospital.
COMFORTABLE SLIPPER-TYPE SHOES
Buy something that they can wrap their feet in relaxation but also go outside if they need to take a break from the hospital or run an errand. If the mother has had a c-section, her feet will probably swell and she will be uncomfortable enough without having to force her feet into torture devices.
Look for shoes that work for swollen feet or edema. Buying diabetic shoes might not go over too well.
A SNACK BASKET
Building a basket that the new mom can keep next to her bed or chair will help her tremendously. If she is breastfeeding or pumping, she still needs to have an extra calories, but good energy-filled calories.
Here are some ideas for items for the basket:
- bottled water
- granola bars
- fruit (apples, bananas, pears, etc. hold up well)
- string cheese
- individual snack packs (such as trail mix)
SPIRAL NOTEBOOK DIARY
Parents of preemies are sometimes asked to note when they feed the baby or if the baby has gone to the bathroom was it a #1 or #2. The notebook will come in handy if they need to remember events of the day. Even questions they need to ask the nurse or doctors. Or maybe they just need a place to write or doodle while their child is sleeping.
Had you heard of a Kangroozak or Nuroo Pocket before this article?
Kangroozak or Nuroo Pocket
These products are made for skin-to-skin contact.
Kangroozak is recommended for use in the NICU. It's open design makes it easier to hold babies with monitor and IVs to benefit from the carrier.
Nuroo Pocket is a T-shirt that is designed to promote skin to skin contact. This gives the parents the opportunity to keep their child close and keep their arms free. They may not get a chance to use this until they get home, but it’s a nice gift to keep baby close.
They allow for modesty and the added bonus of hands-free contact.
If the parents have other children, you can offer to babysit to free up some of their time.
They may not have human children, but there are sometimes doggies, kitties and fish that need some TLC. See if you can help by taking the dog for a walk, feeding the animals or anything to take a load off their mind.
Last But Not Least
If they are new parents, check their registry! They probably don't have all the gear that they need to bring baby home. See if there is something you can pick up off their registry to be delivered to them when they go home.
Once They are Home Offer Your Time
Many fathers will start transitioning back to work and will be leaving their partners at home.
Every new mother needs a bit of time to herself. She won’t usually take it, but whether she does or not, she needs the offer. Offer to come over and let her shower or take a nap.
Bring over something to eat. She’s probably going to forget to eat. Eating herself will help her through her sleepless days and nights. You can also bring over frozen home cooked meals for the whole family. Nothing would be better than not having to worry about what's for dinner.
Keep in mind that not all mother need outside companionship, but some mothers appreciate a break to talk about something else other than feeding schedules, doctors appointments and nap times.
What the parents of preemies need most is support. They are going to need everyone in their life for something during their time of need and transition. Being there to listen or help when you can will mean more than you could ever imagine.