1 in 10 babies in Australia are born prematurely. 64% of them are multiple babies. (Source: Miracle Babies Foundation.)
Many of us are stunned when we find out a teeny tiny premmie has been born to a friend or relative and instantly want to help out with this potentially challenging time.
Being a mum of 3 premmies, these are the few items that I found the most useful for me and my premmies and would make great newborn baby gift ideas:
1. A keep cup
NICU has a kitchenette for parents to take a break so a keep cup was great as, often, cups were often all dirty or sparse. I also was able to get good coffee from the cafe downstairs as my morning treat. Great for me, great for the environment!
2. An insulated water bottle
Why insulated? NICU is a warm place. Your cold water doesn't stay cold for long. Likewise, you can keep your hot water warmer for longer. Mine was one that I could open with one hand, which proved useful when expressing or breastfeeding. You can see an example in our Mama Essentials Gift Box.
3. Baby books
This kept me occupied, reading to my babies and letting them know I was near. They say they recognise your voice, so I had a 'story time' with them whilst they were resting in their isolettes.
4. Notebook and pen
I used this for EVERYTHING. Breast pumping records, how much I expressed and the time, when I was due to take my next meds, which side I'd fed from last, shopping lists, questions for the doctor... I look back on that little book and I very nearly filled it up.
5. Premmie baby clothing
There is nothing worse than realising all you have are newborn clothes - 00000 and upwards. These days you can get premmie baby clothing and it's so well designed to meet the needs of our babies. Wires and monitoring equipment are catered for in order to allow baby to be dressed and equipment undisturbed. This makes a great newborn baby gift and a wonderful keepsake.
6. Premmie baby nappies
These are a great newborn baby gift idea as premmie newborn nappies they can be hard to come by and often sell out quickly.
7. Premmie milestone cards
Ask any medical professional (and premmie Mother), celebrating every little win is important in recognising progress at such a challenging time. I didn't know about these and I wish I had. Premmie Milestone Cards celebrate the additional challenges that premmies face and overcome. Differing from regular baby milestone cards, these make an excellent newborn baby gift and are designed to be personalised as a unique keepsake.
8. Hand cream
In addition to the drying atmosphere of NICU, I found I was washing my hands a lot with nappy changing, washing bottles and general hygiene around my newborns. Hand cream was, and still is, an essential and makes a great gift for new mothers. The more lightly fragranced the better, and if there are no nasties, perfect.
9. Lip balm
Another must-have to combat the dryness of NICU, lip balm helped keep my lips from drying out. Dehydration already plays a big part in drying out new mothers so lip balm is a great new mother gift... especially with all the kissing and smooching of our newborns!
10. Aromatherapy oils
I never was really big into aromatherapy until I got pregnant and the masseuse I went to used them. I found them to help soothe and centre me in stressful and challenging times. It's best to get advice on them to ensure they are good for mothers with newborns and are providing breast milk for their babies. Our expert at Mother Nurture provided me with products safe for newborns and safe for new mothers and they make a great new mother gift.
Bonus - FOOD
Cook food and deliver it. Order them some meals to their door. Buy some frozen meals. Get a snack box together, of items they can eat on the run, at the hopsital or in transit. In my experience, Mothers barely think about themselves and their needs as mothers and it's even more so when you feel that you need to be with your poorly newborn in the NICU. A gift of food was never so well received as one from another Mama who just got it.
If you give or receive any of these gifts, comment below and let us know whether you found it useful. Better still - add some other thoughtful items to the list to help others out!