What to take to the NICU with you

A practical list for you all today. Things to take to the NICU for your baby and you!

Packed lunch – Hospital food is expensive! Even more so when you are there daily for 8-10 hours at a time. Pack yourself a lunch and it’ll probably be healthier too which is good for expressing mums.

Daily diary – A date book with space to write down everyday any milestones and also what baby’s stats are, for example, oxygen levels and percentages or how much milk they’re having. It’s so nice to look back on and see how far we’ve come. A year ago today, my dad had his first cuddle with Jack! Also to note down any questions to ask the staff.

Journal – writing your feelings down can help immensely if you are so inclined. I have kept diaries on and off since I was 9. I have some writings from when Jack was first born (in the incomplete pregnancy journal!) that are quite emotional but brimming with love.

Coolbag – To take in the milk that you expressed overnight.

Books/Puzzles – There is so much watching and waiting in the NICU. Waiting for the next expressing time, waiting for the next nappy change and feed, waiting for your once daily allowed cuddle. I got through all of the Harry Potter books and then several puzzle books during our 3 month stay. I may have read him some of Harry Potter too – start the obsession young!

Baggy tshirts that are suitable for kangaroo care – it’s much easier to get minuscule being with 15 wires attached into a baggy top than a fitted one!

Baby’s own clothes – I was so pleased to finally be able to dress Jack in his own clothes (Asda do preemie clothes from 2-3lb upwards). Being able to take home his dirty clothes and wash them and put them on the drying rack next to ours made me feel a little bit more like a proper Mummy. Seeing his clothes drying at home made it feel like he was mine not the nurses.

Purse – Eventually you may be allowed to borrow their pram and portable oxygen cylinder to take your baby for a walk round the hospital. Walking Jack to Costa and sitting there with him and a hot chocolate was a joy and I felt so proud to show him off to people who spoke to me about him. People will inevitably ask you things when they see the oxygen cylinder.

Phone/camera – Take endless pictures AND videos. I made sure I took several photos every single day and I wish I had taken more videos. I know they don’t do all that much except just lie there but I wish I had a video of our first cuddle, of his tiny barely audible voice, of everything. Film everything, capture everything.

Portable phone charger – Hubby played a lot of games on his phone during the ‘waiting’ times which zapped the battery. Also, you never know when a milestone may occur.

Anti-bac gel – The hosptial has it everywhere but I still had some in my bag, just in case.

Your own bottles – If you intend/have to bottle feed your little one, whether it be expressed breast milk or formula, your baby will need to adapt to the bottles you will be using at home. They will start on hospital standard bottles with preemie teats so a little while before they are discharged the nurses will ask you to bring in the bottles you intend to use at home. The baby may need a while to get used to the teat shape and flow speed.

Keepsake box – I have a box full of ECG leads, sats probes, cpap hats and his first size of clothes that I look through every so often. Really, he has come so far, my genuine miracle baby. Oh, he was so tiny! You could also ask if it’s ok to take in a clay imprint kit to take moulds of their hands and feet for your keepsake box.

So there’s my list of things that you will/may need in the NICU. What would you add? Is there anything I haven’t thought of or forgotten?

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