New and improved Parent Support Community!
Patient+Family Care is excited to share the launch of our new and improved NICU Parent Support Community. While our previous community was successful and received great reviews, we are always looking for ways to improve our customer experience. We decided to collaborate with many of our previous participants and we asked them what it was that they wish they would have seen included in the community. We also asked what information they would have found to be helpful if it were included in the program to help them feel even more supported while they were in the NICU. Overwhelmingly, participants all said mental health, self care and preparing for discharge.
These participants not only offered up these topic ideas, but they also offered to help create the content so that new participants would truly hear exactly what parents want to hear. The common goal the parents and Patient+Family Care both had in mind was to create a safe community where current NICU families could join and could learn how to not only survive the NICU journey..... but would THRIVE!
What are the benefits of this unique and engaging community?
There are many benefits to our community, and they of course will differ for every individual. However, the basics can be summarized in the graphic below:
We are happy to be offering this engaging community to parents so that they receive education, information, resources and connection all while having access to a NICU nurse who will teach them how to be an advocate for themselves and their child(ren). More importantly, this community will empower parents to become better prepared to know how to anticipate the roller coaster of emotions that typically accompany the NICU experience and will truly normalize the psychosocial side effects that rarely get discussed.
One of the most fun things about planning for a new baby, besides decorating a nursery, is shopping for those adorable baby outfits! There are so many options out there from the variety of colors, styles, prints and materials. Having a new baby to dress feels like dressing up a doll in fun outfits and accessories.
But what happens when babies are born too early, too small or too sick to dress up? In the NICU, they typically are left in their diapers until they are stable and then families can finally start to dress them, but newborn outfits are way too big!
Thankfully there are some amazing companies that realized the choices for preemie clothes is limited out in traditional stores, and . created amazing premature clothing lines, including outfits for babies that still requires tubes and wires to be attached.
We have found some of our favorite NICU shops, and are sharing them here with you!
1. Jacquis Preemie Pride
Jacqui's Preemie Pride was named for their preemie daughter, Jacqui (pronounced Jackie). They manufacture baby clothing for the smallest of babies, hoping to make them comfortable while providing a little joy (and hopefully a smile) to their parents. They are a small business, trying to make a difference in the lives of premature and hospitalized infants and their families. All of their clothing is designed for healthy newborn babies, adjustable for NICU premature infants.
Their hope is to spread some love and kindness in this world.
Shop at: https://www.jacquispreemiepride.com/
2. Preemie Store
The Preemie Store has been, and will continue to be, a family business working with your families’ preemie needs in mind.
The founder's personal history of clothing preemies goes back to 1993 when a friend from church couldn’t find preemie clothes for her baby. Since Cressie had been sewing practically all of her children’s clothing, she quickly made some outfits for that tiny girl. That led to her ongoing passion for designing and manufacturing preemie clothes that address the unique requirements of premature babies.
Now with the combination of the Perfectly Preemie brand and the many other excellent brands Preemie Store carries, they hope you find exactly what you are looking for. They add products to their offerings regularly, so preemie parents will continue to have a one-stop shop with the World's largest selection of preemie wear and gear!
Shop at: https://www.preemiestore.com/preemie-to-5-lbs
3. My Miracle Baby
At My Miracle Baby, they understand how important it is to dress your little one in comfortable clothing that wears well. Unlike other clothing that may stain easily or wear out quickly, they choose quality products.
They also feature difficult to find products like clothing for preemies, twins, and triplets. It doesn’t matter whether your miracle baby is a boy or girl either; you will be able to find the products you need at a price you can afford. They also have a large selection of items that are perfect for special occasions.
One of the best parts about buying products from My Miracle Baby is the top notch customer service available. If you have questions about a product, or if you need assistance choosing the perfect gift, contact their customer service department. You can email us or call them!
Shop at: https://www.mymiraclebaby.com/collections/preemie-baby-clothes
4. Itty Bitty Baby Boutique
Itty Bitty Baby Boutique provides NICU adapted clothes that are designed to safely dress preemie babies in the neonatal intensive care unit!
They create clothes that make dressing easy with hook + loop closures, no difficult buttons or snaps and each unique style is adapted to allow access for IV's and respirators. They have a wide variety of clothing options including going home outfit sets, holiday outfits, wraps, sleepers, gowns, overalls and even bereavement outfit sets.
Shopt at: https://www.ittybittybabyboutique.com/pages/nicu
5. Bright Beginnings Boutique
Bright Beginnings Boutique offers a wide array of items from newborn clothes, toddler outfits, toys to cheer uniforms. But they have a line of preemie clothes.
They know it can be difficult to find cute outfits for the smallest of babies, so they offer preemie outfits that mostly come with velcro closures and open feet so they can accommodate wires.
Shop at: https://brightbeginningsboutique.com/collections/preemie-clothes
6. Hiccups Children's Boutique
Hiccups Children's Boutique also offers a wide array of clothing options for babies and children of all ages.
Shop their baby boutique for premature baby clothes and preemie take home outfits for both baby boys or girls. Browse their selection of preemie girls dresses and gowns, and their cute bubble outfits and rompers for preemie baby boys.
They find that their designer preemie outfits are great ideas for baby registries too!
Shop at: https://www.hiccupschildrensboutique.com/preemie-baby-clothes/
Do you have other suggestions?
Most people don't think of the NICU as a place to play games and have fun. It's a scary, overwhelming, isolating and high intensity environment. Who would be playing a game when babies are struggling every day and fighting for their best chance at life?
Well, we are thrilled to be showcasing and releasing our latest product that will get parents of NICU babies playing a game! Because we know what a stressful and exhausting experience the NICU is for many families, we know that a little fun can go a LONG way! And why not have fun doing things that are healthy and helpful for a parents' physical and mental health?
We have created a NICU Parent Bingo game, inspired by Postpartum Internationals Postpartum Bingo game, that is designed especially for NICU families and helping them find a way to focus on their self-care during their child's hospitalization. A neonate's health and overall well being can be dramatically improved when their parent's psychosocial and physical health are in harmony, yet typically NICU families have a difficult time prioritizing themselves when their baby is in the hospital.
We encourage neonatal staff to provide families with a BINGO card early on in a NICU admission, and then find ways to provide incentives for when they complete a traditional Bingo or a full card Bingo. Reward families for making themselves a priority and caring for themselves when they likely want to do everything but that.
Purchase the cards and laminate them to use them over and over again with long term families, or provide a single card to families to hang at their baby's bedside if they have a shorter stay. Get creative on how you present rewards, celebrate parents who are able to participate and use the card as an additional teaching tool to remind families what self care is important to focus on.
For this inaugural NICU Mental Health Awareness Week, we are going to give a way two sets of our brand new Bingo cards! Enter into our drawing, and watch social media on Friday to see who wins!
NICU Mental Health Awareness Week
April 15-19, 2019 is NICU Mental Health Awareness Week!
Family members of critically ill patients frequently experience an increased incidence of physical and mental health issues. The NICU is certainly an incredibly stressful time for families, so supporting the physical and emotional health of parents and family members is incredibly important if there is a desire to help improve a parents' physical and psychosocial health.
Patient+Family Care knows and understands how important it is to encourage families to practice self-care during the NICU journey, but also fully acknowledges that the acts of self-care are much easier said than done!
In response to witnessing so many families experiencing postpartum depression, overwhelming stress, post traumatic stress disorder and pure exhaustion during their child's neonatal hospitalization, Patient+Family Care developed a fun, unique and creative way for staff to help encourage families to participate in positive and healthy habits.
NICU Parent Bingo is an easy way for parents to play a friendly game while simultaneously taking care of themselves. We recommend that units provide a reward for parents who complete a traditional bingo run and when they complete their entire card. What better way to provide an incentive for a new mom or dad (or grandparent, sibling, friend, etc.) to focus on their own health so that they can be the healthiest versions of themselves, which in turn will provide a more stable and nurturing environment for their baby to grown and thrive in.
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
For several years I was a family support specialist in a level III NICU and spent countless hours planning, preparing for and hosting parent hours and family events. I had read the abundant research that was available stating how important peer-to-peer support was for NICU families and I wanted to ensure that our unit was offering plenty of opportunities for families to connect with one another, especially once we had transitioned to a a single room unit design. I understood quite well that the long term physical and mental health outcomes of the neonates we were caring for relied heavily on the mental health of the parents while they were in our care during the NICU journey.
Yet despite careful planning and doing all I could to make accommodations to ensure the majority of families could attend, we had terribly low attendance to every event we offered. I would find myself getting so frustrated and so many times I wanted to give up. Why continue to go to so much trouble of planning and hosting events when no one would show up?
Well, instead of giving up....... I realized I had to just get creative!