Hello everyone and welcome back to my little blog where I share lifestyle and motherhood content. I am currently writing a short series of blog posts dedicated to knowledge I wish I had during my first year of motherhood.
If you are interested in my other blogs in this series you can find them below:
- 5 Things to Bring on a Roadtrip with Kids
- Tips for Exclusively Pumping
- Baby Gear Essentials
- Newborn Essentials
- What’s in my Diaper Bag?
- What’s in my Hospital Bag?
If you want to know more about my journey to motherhood, you can find my pregnancy blogs below:
- My Journey through Pregnancy & Miscarriage
- My Preconception Appointment
- My First Trimester Recap
- My Unlucky 2nd Trimester
- My Complicated 3rd Trimester
- My Scary Birth Story
- She’s Here!
With all that said, today I will be sharing with you what you need if you find yourself a NICU Mom. We ended up with our daughter in the NICU after a complicated pregnancy, premature birth and an emergency c-section so needless to say I was a little unprepared.
I barely even had more than an extra outfit packed in my hospital bag and we lived in a town 2 hours away from where I ended up being induced so running home to grab something I forgot was not an option. Before I share my 4 NICU essentials to help you survive your baby’s extended hospital stay, I have a rule for all Moms.
My Number One Rule: Don’t let anyone shame you or make you feel bad about having pregnancy complications, birth complications, feeding complications, sleep complications or whatever else they might find fault with in your parenthood.
Those people truly DO NOT have your best interest at heart. So what if you need a little extra help, we all do sometimes; and as long as you and baby are thriving other people’s opinions don’t matter.
Okay, let’s get into what you need in your NICU Survival Kit!
You’ll need clothes that fit you at the time you deliver and maybe even a size down since your body will change a ton in the first few months after you become a mom and if you’re a NICU mom you probably don’t know how long you’ll actually be staying at the hospital.
One mistake I made was watching a lot of Hospital Bag Youtube videos during my pregnancy that recommended bringing your pre-pregnancy clothes.
I found that advice to be unrealistic because I was completely swollen and had a ton of water retention even after I was discharged from the hospital. So even though I had lost weight really fast, I stayed big for a while after I delivered, and there was absolutely no way I was going to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes right after I gave birth.
Another mistake I made when I was pregnant was listening to one of the most frequent pieces of advice I kept getting over and over: “Don’t buy preemie clothes! It’s such a waste of money.”
Of course I listened because it sounded like sound advice. The average baby is about 7 pounds at birth so why would you need clothes made specifically for a baby less than 4 lbs?
Well if you accidentally have a complicated pregnancy that you weren’t planning for, having a couple preemie outfits on hand can be a good idea; especially if this is your first pregnancy.
Best case scenario, you spent an extra $14 and you didn’t need the clothes.
Now if you are wondering where to find preemie clothes, most hospitals with a NICU will typically have them on hand and sometimes they even send you home with some cute outfits if you ask.
The best place I’ve found preemie clothes is Walmart and Amazon. I found out the hard way that Target doesn’t carry preemie sizes and Kole’s has a very limited supply.
A Good Breast Pump and Pillow
Yet another common thing I heard throughout my pregnancy is “breastfeeding is natural” and
it is, but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally. In fact there is a tremendous learning curve for both you and baby. If you add in a baby that is extremely small or just plain complicated, you may end up having a little more trouble with breastfeeding.
Our daughter was so small she physically could not latch. When she got a little bigger I tried to breastfeed, but by then she was uninterested in it and it was super frustrating.
Don’t let yourself feel too bad if you can’t breastfeed, as long as Baby is eating up a storm and gaining weight you’re doing a great job! That said, I didn’t invest in a breast pump or a nursing pillow during my pregnancy because I thought I wouldn’t need them.
It’s true that most hospitals will provide a breast pump and have pillows on hand for nursing when you’re recovering, but they don’t necessarily let you use them after you’re discharged even though Baby is still in the NICU.
So again I learned the hard way that it’s a good idea to already have an electric pump so you can take it with you to the hospital and use it throughout your baby’s NICU stay.
The Comforts of Home
No matter how your birth goes, you are going to want the comforts of home with you.
This is especially true if you delivered at a hospital that doesn’t have a NICU and your baby needs to be airlifted to another hospital with better medical care or if you just end up delivering in a different town fromwhere you live.
It was so weird to be discharged from the hospital and have to stay at a hotel for an additional two weeks while our little girl got strong enough to be able to go home with us.
So that said, I am going to give you a list of all the things I took with me that made me feel at home away from home and all the things I wish I had taken with me to make my extended hospital more comfortable.
Some things will only make sense if you will be staying away from home for longer than one or two days which is why I’m adding them in because a lot of Hospital Bag videos and blogs only include what you’ll need for like a weekend stay at the hospital, and this way you’ll have everything you need so you don’t have to go to a random Target or Walmart in an unfamiliar town.
- Toiletries/Makeup: Trust me, after a while you are going to feel more like yourself and want mascara and concealer.
- Beach towel: Hotel towels are small and you’ll still be recovering from delivery for a couple weeks, so if you can bring a huge towel to cover your water retaining, swollen mom-bod.
- Cozy blanket: Go ahead and bring one for you and for Baby. It will help you feel at home in your hotel, and leaving one that smells like you in the NICU will help Baby not miss you so much when you’re gone.
- Bathrobe: This is important when you’re recovering in the hospital and learning how to breastfeed and pump. It will also make all the public breastfeeding and pumping you’ll be doing for weeks after until you can finally go home a little easier.
- Slippers/Houseshoes: Non-slip socks are great for laboring at the hospital because you can just throw them out if anything gets on them, but you’ll need something easy to put on after you’re discharged when you’re still recovering from giving birth.
- Snacks specifically for maintaining your breastmilk supply: – This is something I didn’t have and really wished I did. Motherhood is super stressful in general but it’s even worse when you have to say goodnight to your baby everyday. You’ll also need to keep up with your pumping schedule when you’re away from Baby to establish a good supply, so take breastfeeding snacks like oatmeal cookies!
- Feminine hygiene products: This is another thing I didn’t have on hand but wish I did. You honestly could be there away from home for more than a month, so plan ahead. The last thing you want to do is wear those giant diaper pads they give you when you’re recovering from delivery after your cycle goes back to normal.
And that’s all I have for you today, thank you so much for stoping by!
Laundry and Dishes is a lifestyle blog which includes blog posts and articles written by myself as well as regular content from an amazing group of guest writers. We’d love to have you join us by subscribing to the email list for access to free printables, and by subscribing you won’t miss out on any new content.
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