What do you buy someone who has just given birth to a premature baby?

It may be too soon to buy baby clothes, balloons and toys, but buying a new parent something to show you are thinking of them is a very touching gesture.

Don’t delay! Even though you don’t want to clog their home up with unwanted baby junk, it is nice to receive something to acknowledge a baby exists. The new-born baby stage has been so cruelly stolen from a nicu parent, but a baby has still been born and their impact on the lives of a new parents is just as powerful. Sending a gift is the right thing to do, to show parents you are thinking of them and that you know this is a big occasion.

If you want to save the larger gifts for the homecoming, I have put together a small list of things you could buy as a gift for nicu parents:

Mother & Baby Bonding Bunnies

These handmade bonding bunnies are super cute and useful. Parents can keep one bunny close to them so it picks up their scent, while the other sits with the baby, they are then switched over.  Research suggests that a baby’s smell can help increase a mother’s milk production. In addition to bringing comfort and reassurance, the sense of smell is one of the first things that bond a baby to its parents. etsy.com/babybondingbunnies

Pen & Journal

Writing to your baby can offer a great sense of comfort to parents while they are in hospital. It is something that I started when my babies were in hospital and continue now they are five and two. Not only can parents look back on their time in intensive care in years to come, it also can help with processing their feelings.

Personalise It

Whether it is a Christmas bauble with baby’s name on or a blanket with initials embroidered on, having a gift with your child’s name can be even more touching when they are sick. In some small way, having their name scrapped, sprayed of sewn into something is a small token to show that they won’t ever be forgotten and that their birth, even though not being celebrated in the traditional way has still been marked.

Water Bottle or flask

This sounds like a naff gift, but stick with me. When a parent has a sick child, they go through the motions, but they really aren’t processing everything that is happening, just getting to the hospital and taking care of their baby becomes the main priority. Often they forget to look after themselves, which is counterproductive, as the baby relies on them. One example this is breastfeeding mothers, who need to drink plenty in order to produce milk for their babies. Most neonatal units have drinking water in a kitchen or corridors, but it means having to go backwards and forwards to fill up with water and leave baby. A flask or water bottle is strange, but nice gift to give a new parent – but it may need to come with an explanation.

Knitted Hats

Premature babies are often given a hat when they come out of the incubator for a cuddle. Get your knit on and make one yourself or search Etsy under ‘premature baby’. Etsy have a number of great handmade gifts for premature babies – just check the post times to your country. A crochet octopus is also great too.

Milestone Cards

Milestones seem more like hurdles to a premature parent, so it is really important to celebrate the smaller achievements. Having your first cuddle, moving in to a cot, leaving intensive care, are all major achievements. I really like the idea of premature baby milestone cards. There are lots available, my favourite are these printable ones from Milestone World – http://www.milestone-world.com/en/free-printables/premature/2016/11/premature-cards-free-printable/1