20 Great Gifts to Give a NICU Mama {part 2}

by GfG on January 15, 2016

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Yesterday I shared ten of the twenty gift ideas {part 1} I think are great for NICU mamas. The time in that wonderful yet difficult place is unique and calls for some thoughtful and useful gifts to bless a mama.  After seventeen days in the NICU with Paul Louis and then five weeks there with Jubilee, I saw some practical and wonderful gifts.  They vary in cost, so you choose whatever works for you, if you have a friend dealing with this challenge.

20 Great Gift Ideas for a NICU Mama WEB

20 Great Gifts for a NICU Mama (cont’d):

Quality slippers.  This may sound silly, but the NICU mama is sorta like a hospital patient.  Getting to wear comfortable shoes that can slip on and off as she snuggles in the recliner with her baby or even naps in the recliner while baby is having treatments or rest is really nice.  I would carry mine in my bag and then change at bedside.  I didn’t like the flip flop kind because those were too obviously slippers and they made noise. I have a great pair that looked like shoes, but were light and super comfy.

charging cord

A phone charging cord.  We all know that keeping our phones charged is sometimes hard, but always necessary.  The NICU mama is linked to the outside world by her phone and will want it ready to use all the time. And the camera is key.  BUT remembering to transfer a charging cord back and forth from her bedside at home to the NICU may prove tricky since she is tired.  If she had one to just keep in her bag, that would be super.  And, not to be tacky, but it needs to work well.  Some of the cheapie ones just don’t.

Me and Emily

A quick visit and treat.  A more than a few times, a friend would text in the morning and ask for a good time to pop by to give me a hug and a treat.  A Starbucks, a cookie, a salad.  Whatever.  It was really fun and nice to sit for a minute with her and enjoy a treat.  I never liked to stay away long, but knew it was good to take a breath and see a friend. The fact that they asked if it was a good day and then for good time meant a lot too.

Sweet and sturdy decoration for the baby’s bassinet or crib.  A friend made this beloved and beautiful garland for Jubilee before she was even born. I had planned to hang it over her crib, but it ended up hanging up in the NICU first.  And it drew a crowd.  We ended up having to take it down from the walls, but we were allowed to tape it to her bassinet and then her crib. It cheered her little area and made it look more festive. I was so grateful to have it.

bunting and sign

Another friend who is skilled at stamping and card making made Jubilee the prettiest name card in the NICU (you can see it in the background).  Most hospitals have volunteers who make name cards for the babies’ incubators/bassinets now, but they aren’t anywhere as pretty as one done with skill and love. Plus, a unique ones gives the baby’s area a more personal feel.

A well made sleep mask.  Most NICU mamas could use a nap and the only option is bedside.  I used a sleep mask to catch little naps in the recliner and a pink noise app on my phone by my head to block out noise a bit.  Worked like a charm.  Just know that not all sleep masks are made the same, so get one that has a bit of thickness and a cushion for by the nose to block out the light.  I got mine at Target for less than $10.

Kindle, Nook, or Audible gift cards or books.  There will be lots of quiet hours on the mama’s schedule and it took me awhile to realize that Facebook and Instagram weren’t the best places to spend my time.  All day.  Finally, Paul took me to the library and I got a few books, but it was challenging to try to hold a book and turn pages while holding a baby. Again, I held her all I could.  When I switched to Kindle that was easier.  When I used Audible, even more so.  I actually had to contain some laughter while enjoying a few great books in the NICU.  A much better use of my quiet time.

A dinner for her family.  If the NICU mom doesn’t get to come home until bedtime, like I did, or even if she does come home for the night at dinner time, a hot prepared meal waiting for her and providing for her family is a huge deal. Seriously.  My family was so grateful for the meals delivered a few times a week to them while I was with Jubilee and it helped me to not have to worry about it.  Meal trains do this nicely and a friend that takes up the lead on this is a Godsend to the NICU mama.

Asking to meet the baby.  Every mama is different on this, but I adored showing off my baby and loved people meeting her.  I usually offered first and people didn’t ask, but I wouldn’t have minded if they did.  A simple, “If guests are allowed and you are up for it, I’d love to meet (insert baby’s name here)! And see that precious face!”  Gracious receipt of nos are good, but I think all mamas want to know that someone wants to meet their baby.

Offering to do a shift.  This offer isn’t something just anyone can offer because NICU mamas have a limited number of people who can stay with the baby bedside without the parent, but if you are close to the family, willing, and comfortable with care giving, then offering to do a shift at the hospital is a great gift.  Being held as much as possible and having individualized care makes a difference in how well a baby overcomes hurdles.  This is why NICU mamas are bedside as much as possible.

For me, it was difficult, but doable to be there every day.  Still, when a friend offered to go hold Jubilee and feed her for me so I could be with my family, I took her up on it.  She is an OT and I know that helped me know she would be fine.  I enjoyed going to church with my family that morning, while Mo took the 8am to 11am shift.

Me and Mo

Prayers and hugs.  Most of all, a NICU mama needs support and encouragement.  You can do that by hugging her, via in real life hugs, notes, cards, pms, or text.  You can also do it by praying for her and asking God to sustain her during a really trying and difficult time in her life.

That’s my NICU mama gift list!

Anything on here that surprises you?  What would you add? 

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