While I was pregnant, I looked up so many different ‘what to pack for the hospital’ lists and suggestions. I knew exactly what I was going to pack in my bag to take to the hospital when it was time to give birth to my babe. Well then things changed and I went into labor two months early. Not only had I not packed for the hospital yet, but I also had no idea what to keep at the hospital for our NICU stay. Having a preemie baby is hard, but hopefully this can make it a little easier!
First off, I want to tell you how sorry I am that you’re here. I know how hard it is to have a preemie. The fears, frustrations, and worries are all very close to my heart. If you are needing some encouragement, you can read my letter to a NICU mom here. I hope that this list can ease your mind and give you some ideas on how to make the nicu a little more comfortable.
My son was born 9 weeks early and was in the hospital for over 7 weeks. I got to know the hospital, especially the nicu, very well. Although our towns hospital is very nice, its not home. And it was hard to be there for so long. But we had to be so I tried to make it as ‘home-y’ as possible. (This list might look different for you depending on what your specific nicu provides and allows. Be sure to check)
At our nicu, each patient has their own room which was such a blessing. So we had our own space that would be just ours for our stay there. It was a pretty small room, the equipment took up most all of the space, but there was a little storage space, a sink, and a reclining chair that were ours to do what we wanted with. Anyway, here’s the list of everything I would suggest.
- Decorations: I wanted the room to feel less like a hospital, and more like a home. So I brought pictures of our family to hang up, as well as art work from his big sister.
- A blanket and pillow: You definitely want to bring a cozy blanket to snuggle with while you sit next to your baby, and probably your own pillow too. I think this made a big difference in the feeling of the room. Plus I just love a good blanket. Also bring a baby blanket. They prob won’t let you put it in his crib, but they draped it over the crib.
- Cozy clothes: You’re going to be spending a lot of your days here. There’s no need to look business casual. Get comfortable. Bring some sweats, an oversized sweater, and some slippers.
- A water bottle: obviously, any water bottle will do. I suggest one like this because it keeps your water cold, so you don’t have to keep getting up to get new water.
- Storage bin: Our hospital provided one in our room for us, but if yours doesn’t, I highly recommend getting something like this. I loved having this because it was so convenient to keep all our stuff nice and organized.
- Nursing accessories: you are going to be pumping…a lot. So its absolutely necessary that you keep your favorite nursing accessories near you. For me, that includes a water bottle, nipple cream, chapstick, and a pumping bra.
- Pumping bra: I know I just listed that above, but I’m listing it again because you NEED it. You’re going to spend a lot of time pumping for your baby, but you don’t want to spend hours each day holding the pump to your boobs. This bra is incredible, trust me. So worth it.
- Snacks: this is pretty self explanatory. Just bring your favorite snacks and fill a draw full of them. You’ll need it.
- Journal: Again, I highly recommend this. Bring a journal and write it in everyday. Write down the good, the bad, the scary, the great. Write down milestones and who your favorite nurses are. You will love to look back this stuff later one. I suggest getting one specifically for this experience. I think this is so so so important.
- Devotional: You’re going to need some encouragement, and the best encourager I know is Jesus. This is my favorite devotional. It spoke to me so many times while my baby was in the nicu. Several times I found so much hope and joy in it. I strongly recommend this too.
- Sibling stuff: If you have other kids, then you’re going to want to have some stuff for them to do too. Coloring books are always good choices. Something like this is great for toddlers. My daughter had something similar and loved it. Plus it wasn’t messy or big. Something like this was also a big hit. Basically anything that seems travel friendly is probably a good choice.
Well those were my favorite things to keep in our room at the N.I.C.U. I hope they can give you some ideas on what to bring with you. Again, I am so sorry you have to be there at all. I’d love to pray for you, just comment below.
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“The grass withers and the flowers fade but the word of the Lord stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8