What do you buy a premature baby for Christmas?
Buying Christmas gifts for friends and family members can often be tricky at the best of times, but when you have a tiny person who has arrived in the world earlier than expected and who is currently the centre of everyone's world!
Super special premature babies deserve super special Christmas presents but what on earth do you buy a tiny baby, who is spending their time in minimal clothes in an incubator and asleep almost 24 hours a day?
If you know a baby who is currently in NICU and potentially will be for Christmas, fear not, as there are plenty of ideas for gifts that will be perfect for them and well received by their parents.
Say their name, write their name, create their name on a personalised Christmas gift! It might not sound that exciting or special but believe me, any reinforcement that baby is doing well and baby has their own identity will do wonders to raise the spirit and hopes of the parents.
I'll never forget the children in my eldest son's class made two cards to celebrate the birth of his baby brother and sister. One was pink and one was blue and in big letter on each were their names Anya and Xavier. The babies were born 3 months early, they were clinging onto life, they had hurriedly been given names just 2 hours after my waters had unexpectedly broken and so to see their names, in print, created by others who were celebrating their arrival, was almost like a tonic for me. It made them real, helped me realised they were real, alive and doing OK and I'll always remember the impact those two cards had on me that day.
It doesn't matter what the gift is really, though a little thought is preferable, but a give that is personalised with baby's name will mean the world to the family. No doubt, the fact that the baby is in NICU will mean the family has been through a certain amount of trauma, and anything that reinforces the fact that baby is doing well, such as a gift with their name on it, will be so well received as a Christmas present.
'From tiny acorn mighty oaks grow' is a wonderful and perfectly true saying. The tiny acorn is a wonderfully positive symbol of premature babies in NICU, indeed our very blog is named after the acorn. Gifts with acorns, or acorn gifts, are wonderfully positive and thoughtful ideas.
The acorn symbolises strength, growth and hope and premature families will not fail to notice the thought that you put into the present.
Cherish the memory of Christmas in NICU
Any unusual Christmas is memorable but hospitals in particular are extremely special places to spend Christmas. My first baby was 3 weeks early, arriving unexpectedly on Christmas Eve and the only full day I spent in hospital recovering from an emergency C-section, was Christmas Day.
Despite the reason you may be in hospital, it's almost a privilege to spend the day with the wonderful nursing and medical staff who are looking after you, and making every effort to make your day as special as it can be. All that despite being away from their own family over the festive period.
Who was there with you on your first Christmas spent in NICU? Who was on duty? Who came and sang carols? Who did your medication? Who did your cares? Who cleaned your ward? Who did the doctors round? Who took your bloods? A message book, Signature frame or fingerprint tree are all wonderful gifts to give to parents to collect keepsake messages or details to remember baby's first Christmas. Date the gift and give it to them well in advance so they can collect names and fill them in. A wonderful, meaningful and unique keepsake.
What else would you buy for a newborn other than all the basics and essentials that you can never have enough of! Just like any baby, NICU babies need plenty of equipment, especially the basics! But, don't forget the basics and still specific to premature babies, you can't just buy any old bibs and blankets! Teeny tiny is the key!
- Scratch mits
All of these are available in tiny premature sizes and premature babies seem to go through a lot of them so a little selection or hamper of these tiny items would be the perfect gift! Sometimes it's the simple things that mean the most and are the most useful, so when others might buy fancy pants presents, don't forget practical can often be perfect.
Not one present but two!
Teddies, furry friends, comforters and snuggies are always a winner when it comes to choosing a gift for a baby and premature babies are no different.... apart from the fact you might need to consider smaller sized ones!
But don't forget you can't just buy a preemie just one snuggie friend! Remember when baby is being comforted by their furry friend, Mummy will have the second one next to her skin through the night. In the morning they will swap and both will be comforted by the warmth and smell of the other. Every morning they will swap and every day baby will be soothed by the smell of Mummy and Mummy's milk will be stimulated by the smell of baby. Gorgeous little Christmas gifts that will become firm favourites.
The most important aspect of giving a Christmas present to a NICU baby is that you actually do it. Don't forget, don't think because they are in hospital that Christmas passes them by and please don't think that marking their time in NICU over Christmas is something they won't want to do or remember. These are special babies, in special times and they deserver the most special, thoughtful presents.