During the 95 days we spent visiting NICU, my partner and I used many different essential items.
Below, I’ve listed items that have really helped us through our stay and once our baby had been discharged too. You may be able to find these cheaper if you hunt around but they are here just for reference.
WHILE STILL IN NICU
Electronic Book – There are many eReaders online that are similar but we chose this one. Staying in NICU for hours at a time can be great but in all honesty there are times when there’s nothing to do but let your little one rest without interruption. In these times an ebook is a God send. This Kindle is very thin and lightweight so you can easily have it in your hospital/NICU bag without taking up much room at all. The battery life is amazing too which is crucial!
Notepad (and pen/pencil) – As you’ll see from My Story, I kept a lot of notes. This allowed me to keep track of exactly what was going on with my baby in NICU. This included; body weight, oxygen pressure type and pressure, quantity of feed, which medicine she was on and so on. I went through many many pages during her 95 day stay and I’m so glad I kept track of it all. I’ll certainly keep hold of these notes as they’re priceless!
Micro Nappies – A few days after our little one was born, we were kindly asked by the nurse to start bringing in our own nappies. The hospital does have some but they are really for newborn babies until the parents are able to go and buy their own. We were advised to get Pampers Micro (size 0) nappies. These were both incredibly soft and not too expensive. We moved onto Aldi nappies when she went into the larger sizes and we still buy from them now. Highly recommended (No I’m not getting paid to say this!)
Maternity Nursing Bra – My partner bought these nursing bras and found them very useful. When your baby is learning to breastfeed, these are much easier to use than regular bras because they can unclip down for easier access rather than regular bras and apparently they are far comfier than underwired bras too! I’ll take her word for that.
Nursing Support Pillow – We found that often when holding our baby, especially for long periods of time, not just for feeding, our arm began to ache very quickly. With this pillow we could support our arm and the baby too which made the experience much more enjoyable. There are many different support pillows on the market but this one gives you a lot more manoeuvrability!
Noise Isolating Earphones – Honestly, any earphones or headphones will do, but you do need them. If you are in the ward and the doctors are doing their rounds, they will ask you to either put in your earphones or leave the room. This is because when the nurses change shifts, they discuss what’s happened with each baby. This information is confidential so parents can’t listen unless it’s their own baby being discussed. We bought these simply because of the reviews and they turned out to be very decent, comfy with good sound quality. However, you can use a pair of earphones that came with your phone if you still have them.
Baby’s First Book – We did some, well, a lot of research on premature babies and we learnt that they see only in black and white for quite a while. We bought this black and white faces book which turned out to be brilliant. The contrast of the black and white images caught the attention of our baby straight away and when she was a little older she’d start to touch the book which had quite a few textures. It also includes a mirror on the front, all which can improve the baby’s brain.
Portable Mini Handheld Fan – Unless you have already, you’ll very soon discover that the rooms inside NICU are so hot. This is to keep the babies warm when they are out of the incubators having cuddles. Due to infection risk, they aren’t allowed to open windows so it can become very uncomfortable to sit in the room, especially in the summer. So, a fan of some sort, particularly an electric one is highly recommended. This one was a fairly decent price and small enough not to take up much room in your NICU bag or handbag.
ONCE DISCHARGED FROM NICU
Premature Baby Badges – As mentioned in MY STORY, just before we could take Robyn home, we had a discharge planning meeting with the doctor. She talked about how important it was that we protect her from germs that are harmless to us but could have an incredibly bad effect on Robyn while still vulnerable. As soon as we all went home and went outdoors we found it a very hard and frustrating challenge to stop random people from reaching in the pram so we designed a badge which simply says “please don’t touch me, I’ve been very poorly”. This worked so well that it inspired us to set up a small business called BubbahBear for premature baby care products for babies and their parents.
Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breastpump – Some NICU’s will allow you to borrow one of their machines, however, once your baby is discharged from NICU, in order to express you’ll need to buy your own equipment. My partner has tried manual pumps but this can be rarely practical. She then tried this electric breastpump and found it incredibly effective. It is on the pricey side but worth it.
Baby Wrap Carrier – Ideal for both mother and father. Taking our little one out on walks was occasionally not very convenient with a pram. After hearing about carrier wraps we gave it a go. Very comfortable and easy to wash and store away after use, there were many times she would fall asleep while being carried so it must be very comfy for her too!
Dr Brown’s Bottle Set – For us, Dr Brown’s bottles have been the best bottles we’ve ever used. Tommee Tippee bottles are great but our little one used to suffer from colic and tummy pains after her feeds. This is very common in premature babies, so we tried Dr Brown’s bottles and they really helped to reduce the amount of air that she swallowed. This took away much of her pain and made her a happier baby.
Next 2 Me Crib – When your baby comes home, it is advised that he or she should stay in the parents room for at least 6 months. So a crib is essential. What we found with the Next2Me Crib is that you can put it right next to the bed and take down the side. So you can easily check up on them at night without needing to get out of bed. A real life saver for us! It’s also very sturdy and well made so we felt comfortable knowing that she was safe at night.
Grow Egg – A brilliant and simple idea. The last thing you want is the room that your baby is sleeping in to be too cold or too hot. This thermometer not only shows the temperature but the egg changes colour accordingly. Too hot then it turns red, too cold then it turns blue. This was you’ll see straight away whether the room is at a good temperature or not. We kept this in our room when she was sleeping with us and now it’s in her own room and it’s never let us down.
Baby Monitor – Obviously a very important piece of kit. We chose this particular one because not only could be listen to our baby, but we could also talk back like a walkie talkie. Also, the base delivers a light show which shines onto the ceiling. Not only this but it can play music to calm your baby down. For the price, we found it great value for money.
Quick Clean Steam Bags – Perfect for cleaning and sterilising your bottles and pumps. They are incredibly portable and each bag can get 20 uses out of it. As long as there is a microwave handy and access to a tiny bit of water then you are good to go. This has saved my partner I a lot of times.
Medical Thermometer – Easy to use and in my opinion a crucial tool to own once home. We ordered a thermometer similar to this the day after our little one was discharged from NICU. Whenever we feel that she might possibly be poorly, we can quickly check her temperature and act accordingly. Please note, these home use thermometers aren’t 100% accurate but they are close and Braun is a very reliable make. When it comes to babies health, we don’t really trust unknown brands.
1) The information on these products are purely based mine and my partners opinions. We base these opinions on our experience only as parents of a premature baby born at 25 weeks.
2) I am a participant in Amazon’s affiliate advertising program. This means that if you click on a link and purchase an item, I receive a very small commission. This enables me to keep the site running. Please note though that unlike many others, I will only post links to items that I have used myself and honestly endorse.