Having a premature baby is extremely stressful, particularly when you must leave your newborn each day to go home either because you don’t have hospital accommodation, or because you have other children at home who also need your attention. There are so many things on a parent’s mind. If you know of someone who has a preeemie in the neonatal ward and you want to give her a gift to celebrate the birth, for Mother’s Day, or just because, here are the best gifts for Moms with a premature baby that will make her life easier during this difficult period of time.
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Best Gifts For Moms With A Premature Baby
A simple note or a card with a heartfelt message will be greatly appreciated.
Put together a basket of nutritious snacks and beverages to nibble on at the hospital or during midnight expressing sessions. New parents must keep their energy levels up and it’s hard to do without reaching for chocolate and things that will not give true strength to a body.
Give the new parents a small photo frame in which they can place a photo of their little bundle. Having a photo at home when away from their new child can be a comfort, and for moms who express milk for their preemie, it can help get things flowing.
Along the same lines, gifting two small soft blankets, or a set of little bonding hearts is a wonderful thing. One stays with the baby and one next to Mom’s chest, and then they are swapped so baby can have mom’s scent nearby to comfort and the reverse for Mom which can also help with expressing milk during times of stress. You can find patterns here and here, but you may want to check with the neonatal ward itself to find out what are withing their own guidelines.
The neonatal ward of the hospital is draining both physically, mentally, and emotionally. When at home sleep is greatly needed and time for other things doesn’t seem important. But parents and other children all need to eat well in order to keep going. It’s too easy to simply pick up a greasy pizza or Chinese food and be done with it. But this is detrimental for real nourishment, as well as the finances. Take an hour or two out of your week and prepare some healthy and delicious freezer meals for that special family and they will be delighted. MyFreezEasy is my personal go-to place for freezer cooking, and Erin has just released her Stork The Freezer meal plan that is perfect for parents of all new additions.
If mom is nursing, or has plans to, or is currently expressing, a nursing bra would be fantastic. I was without one for about 3 months and it was less than ideal. They can be pricey, especially when you have the extra expenses of a baby in the hospital for an extended period of time, but the difference it can make is big. Because these really need to be fitted for the best fit, I would recommend a gift certificate to a shop close to the hospital.
Speaking of expenses, the gas/petrol alone to make the daily journey back and forth to the hospital, possibly for weeks or months on end really adds up quickly a the same time that mom’s income has stopped. You may think that a gift card or pre-paid credit card for a gas station along the route is impersonal, but it’s really the opposite; you have thought about what will enable the parents to see their newborn daily as not every parent has the ability to pay for the extra transportation costs.
You could also offer to drive one or both of the parents to visit their baby if they don’t have their own transportation or if parking nearby is an issue. They will appreciate the offer and enjoy the company on the road.
Gifts to preemie parents don’t have to cost anything out of your pocket. If they have additional children, offer to look after the siblings while they are at the hospital, or to give them time to themselves for a nap or time of reflection. Having children at home who need care can be an obstacle for parents spending time at the hospital bonding with their preemie.
Time is always short when you have a baby in the hospital. All focus is on them and spending as much time as possible with them. Offer to help with their laundry or dishes so they don’t feel they are getting behind in the basics of everyday life. Even if they don’t take you up on your offer, they will certainly appreciate the offer of assistance and thoughtfulness.
Another good gift is a book. A children’s book or compilation that the parents can read to their baby in the hospital is a great way to bond and to start good literacy habits early. I read Beatrix Potter books to Tristan and wrote the date I first read each book to him inside the cover.
Alternatively a good novel for Mom or Dad to read to help pass the time and escape from the monotony of the hospital routines is also a fine choice.
And of course, the absolute best thing you can do is just let the parents know that you are there for them and for them to tell you what they need, as each circumstance is unique. Just knowing that you are there when needed will make them feel comforted.