Each year as the holiday season falls upon us, I find that I am constantly thinking of the many families that will be celebrating the winter holidays with a new baby in the NICU. While the holidays are often times filled with traditions, celebrations and gatherings.... NICU Families find themselves in a balancing act of trying to maintain some level of normalcy while also spending time in the hospital supporting their fragile child.
However, the holidays can still be special and full of wonderful memories! And during Thanksgiving, what better time to concentrate on the many things to be thankful for!
HOW TO MAKE THE NICU A PLACE OF THANKSGIVING:
1. Create craft turkey's and write everything you are grateful for on their feathers, or design a tree and write your items of thanks on the leaves that decorate it! Thinking about the things you are grateful for, and physically writing them down, can really improve spirits!
2. Join together with other NICU Families and have a holiday meal together. You don't have to have the meal ON Thanksgiving, but enjoy it together a day or two before/after. Spend time getting to know others and supporting each other through the holiday season together.
WHAT TO BE THANKFUL FOR:
What else are you thankful for?
It’s that time of year when you find yourself busy shopping for everyone on your list and wanting to find that PERFECT gift for those who love most!
So what happens when one of your loved ones is spending the holidays in the NICU with a baby this year?
You want to get them something that is meaningful yet helpful, but have absolutely NO idea what to buy families that have a child in the NICU.
Below is a list of suggested gift ideas for you that will surely help make the holidays memorable and special for NICU parents ~
Books are educational, easy to travel with and can bring support and encouragement to parents of premature/ill babies. We have a list of books we recommend.
1. Preemie Parents: 26 ways to grow with your premature baby
2. A parent’s guide to surviving the NICU
3. The Preemie Parent’s Survival Guide
4. Living Miracles: Stories of hope from parents of premature babies
5. Preemie Parents: Recovering from baby’s premature birth
6. Once Upon A Preemie
7. Intensive Parenting: Surviving the emotional journey of the NICU
8. Care Coordination in the NICU: Implementing Family Centered Nursing Care for Optimal Outcomes
1. Breastfeeding arm pillow
2. “Woombie” swaddler
3. Kangaroo Care wrap
4. Nighty Night Nursing Light
5. The Littlest Peanut: A baby book for premature babies
6. Wubbanub pacifier friend
7. Preemie Clothing (Jacquie's Preemie Pride, Preemie Store, Perfectly Preemie)
8. Bath apron (*this website is not in English)
9. DocAtot portable bed
1. Massage appointments so they can get away and relax
2. Gas cards to help with their travel to and from the hospital
3. Gift cards to the hospital cafeteria/deli
4. Gift cards to local restaurants
5. Delivered meals to their home
6. Pay for a cleaning company to come in and clean their home
7. Give a certificate to watch other children they may have
Spending time in the NICU can be stressful, overwhelming and very emotional. When looking at spending time in the NICU during the holidays, all of those feelings and emotions can be extremely amplified!
Having a baby in the NICU brings a disruption to family traditions, holiday plans and holiday cheer.
Many parents imagine their child’s first Christmas to be one of joy and peace. Many parents get a photo of their child on Santa’s lap, spend quality time cuddling their baby next to a tree full of beautiful twinkling lights, hold their newborn as their baby’s first Christmas ornament is hung on the tree and/or are surrounded by loved ones as they celebrate the magical holiday. However, families who have a baby in the NICU for their first Christmas often find themselves torn as to how to celebrate the holiday, especially if there are other siblings in the family.
Questions that often overwhelm NICU parents:
Each year as the holiday season falls upon us, I find myself being very intentional about listing out the many things I am thankful for. In fact, I make it an annual tradition in our house to spend time each day sharing our daily thanks during the month of November and we each write out something we are grateful for each day on a leaf, and put it up on our "thankful tree" to share with the entire family.
What if we all spent a few moments each morning, being intentional about finding a way to create a thankful moment for someone else? To create a moment in time that would cause another person to go home and be thankful for you, or your generosity that night when they reflected back on their blessings that day? What kind of things would you do? And would you feel you would need them to know it was you, or would you do something anonymously?
As I sit here and ask myself the same question, I will share with you some of the ideas that come to my mind:
I hope that you will share with us what ideas you come up with if you chose to join in on this idea. Share here on our blog, share on our social media, share on YOUR social media! Let's help one another find ways to BE the blessing for others this holiday season.