As a preemie mama, I know the many ups and downs of the NICU. So much of it feels like two steps forward; one step back. Our daughter was born three months premature, and we were in the NICU for a total of 60 days. I’m so thankful for the experience because it introduced me to a different kind of faith, and a whole community of momma’s I never would have known otherwise. Below are the items I wish I could’ve found sooner– they’re truly game changers! If you have a preemie, or have a girlfriend who has a little one in the hospital; I hope my list of practical NICU favourites (in no particular order) helps!
1. Audrey’s Bear, Customized Name Blankets. NICU’s can seem so stark, cold and impersonal. For under $40, you can have your little one’s name printed on an adorable blanket. It really helped us feel a little bit more at home. When Finnley was first born, I used the blanket as an incubator and pad cover. When she was finally old enough to be swaddled, the blankey’s were the perfect combination of stretchy, snuggly and secure. She’s home now, we get complimented on them often, and they’re still our favourite blankets! *Mention that you saw this post on rachelaz.com and use promo code “NICU10”, to receive 10% off of your order!
2. Wild Weka Designs, Luggage Tags. If you’re pumping, most NICUs require you to scan into the parent portal with an ID the hospital gives you to check-in your breastmilk. To speed up the process, I put my parent ID in the luggage tag and attached to my bottle bag so it was always handy. These adorable luggage tags are made from recycled clothing, and are about $7. *Use promo code “RACHELAZNICU10”, to receive 10% off of your order!
3. Young Living, Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier. I’m obsessed with hand sanitizer, but I’ve always hated how the alcohol dries out my hands. So I have good news for all you clean-hand-loving-people: this is an all natural, oil based product that actually leaves your hands silky smooth and smelling like cinnamon. True story! Try it!
4. Lohan Store, Organic, Washable, Cotton Nursing Breast Pads. I hated wearing special padded bras. With these cute little inserts, you can still wear any of your pre-baby sports bras. Super comfy, nice and airy, 100% organic, super absorbent, and machine washable. win+ win+ win+
5. Pump Log App, by Stefanik. Hands down, the BEST app for pumping mamas. It’s the easiest way for mothers to keep track of milk production. Simply log the amount of milk produced with an optional note. No unneeded features or options clutter the interface. Simple and straightforward.
6. Pack It, Personal Cooler. This little cooler came in handy for transporting breastmilk. Often I’d have to run errends before seeing Finn in the NICU, so it was good peace of mind to know that the milk wouldn’t get too warm. I love these little coolers because they come with a removable, freezable gel lining.
7. Milk Snob, Nursing Kimono. I hated pumping bedside in the NICU because of how often Doctors came in to our little room. I felt uneasy and exposed wearing a “tent” styled nursing cover, or front-opened robe. Forget all that while you pump or breastfeed. This was created for nursing/pumping mamas. Stylish, and comfy, you can wear it over any shirt. Wear it open when not pumping/breastfeeding, or close it by buttoning the front across and on your shoulder. Best. Invention. Ever.
8. Kiss My Face, Hand Creme. NICU’s call for hand washing– ALOT of hand washing. After washing my hands over thirty times a day, my hands were left painfully cracked and dry. This naturally moisturizing and nourishing hand cream features two of natures best oils: sunflower oil and jojoba oil. It’s phthalate and paraben free with no artificial fragrances, no gluten, no animal testing and no animal ingredients.
9. Day One App. A journal-styled application. I loved using this to keep track of Finnley’s progress, what I was feeling, and photos of the day. It’s a wonderful place to store all of your memories. Once you create a profile, you can log into it on your desktop, or any device.
10. Simple Wishes, Hand Free Pumping Bra. If you’re a pumping mama and don’t have this, your life is about to change forever. It easily secures your pump in place so that you’re free to relax. It has removable straps, and is adjustable in size– using high quality Velcro to sustain a perfect fit over time as a nursing mother’s size changes. Straps and 1” Zip In Center Panel included to help achieve the perfect fit! It’s machine washable. It’s an absolute MUST.
11. Thirty-One Bags, Backpack. So easy to grab and go, this bag offers great hands-free convenience. Put the pockets to work to house all your essentials: pump parts, snacks, everything you need, and boom! You’re set for the day! Plus it makes a great dad-bag after your baby is released to go home! Bonous– there’s an option to embroider so you can add your baby’s initials or last name. So cute!