From Eekee ~ In honor of my son's upcoming first birthday, I would like to make a donation to the NICU at the hospital where he was born. The staff there was wonderful during the time we were there, and we'd like to repay them in some small way, and in the process, help some families who are spending time there like we did.
I was thinking, instead of regular birthday presents, of asking on the invitations to his party for some small item we can donate to the preemie babies in the NICU.
I thought maybe we could collect Beanie Babies, which the nurses used to position the babies, or maybe hats and booties. These would be easy to collect and take to the hospital to deliver ourselves.
When your babies were in the NICU, what sort of small gift would you have found helpful, or lifted your spirits a bit? What do you ladies think of this idea?
From Kimber1773 ~ The nurses always made cards to the babies and parents on special days like Valentine's Day, etc. That was really special for the parents. Others would donate stuffed animals to the babies. I donated all my preemie clothes to another mom who had a baby boy with the promise that she would pass them down. Hopefully they keep getting passed onto another parent who can use them.
There were some grandmas of preemies who made blankets and clothes for the babies to take home. It was REALLY special. The no-sew blankets would be so easy. You could make them especially for preemie size!
From carrottop9 ~ A lot of hospitals don't have isolette covers. At our hospital, volunteers gave their time to make covers and quilts for the isolettes. Any baby blanket would work and does wonders for the babies' well being. Beanie babies are a GREAT idea. It really made me feel good when we didn't have any money to bring some in but one of the nurses gave Austin two to help position him. I didn't know what it was for, I thought it was just a gift and it made me feel so good.
From JM ~ When my son was one, we had a naming ceremony for him and asked for people to make a monetary donation instead of a Christening present. Jacob's NICU has equipment they want to buy so they put it towards that.
Small cot sheets would be handy, as would the beanie babies (we used rolled up blankets over here) and even supplies for the parents room.
I am sure they will really appreciate the gesture, very sweet.
From Tami C ~ When my sister's twins were in the NICU, some church groups made comforters for the babies. She got to bring them home, and they were beautiful.
I also like the Beanie Baby idea. Sis's babies came home with some really cute little toys; they still have them 5 years later!
And for the nurses, any goodies would be loved. Muffins, cookies, candies of all kinds. I think they would be thrilled at just the "thought" involved!
From TracyR ~ If you're giving something to go to an individual baby, I would say disposable cameras. Those can be bought pretty cheaply, are small enough to stay at the baby's bedside, and would be instantly perfect for the nurses to catch some cool pictures now and then when parents cannot be there (one of our nurses caught a picture of Brendan for me the first time he sucked his thumb).
Or, if the NICU you are donating to has polaroid cameras, donated film for the cameras is nice. I know when our NICU got busy, there was only so much film for the polaroids and there wasn't always enough film. The nurses used proceeds from a soda machine to buy the film so it was limited and that was something they always asked for donations of.
I like the Beanie Baby idea too (and there were never enough teeny booties in our NICU either.)
From Zoemakes5 ~ Wow, some great ideas here! I know the NICU my kids were in really encouraged them to be put in clothes, so any clothing donations would be good. As silly as it seems, lotion for the nurses would be great. That's one of the things that got taken out of the budget between Ethan and Zoe, so they had to bring in their own (and if they were taking turns, it was fairly dependent upon who was working when).
Another good idea that I got from someone else so I can't take credit, is to find out various restaurants/fast-food places near the hospital and have your guests buy gift certificates from there (or from the hospital cafeteria or nearby pizza delivery place). Then, give them to the NICU staff to be able to "share with parents who may need it". After talking with a couple of friends who had children in the hospital, the thing they said was what really slammed them was the cost of food while they kept vigil. And, I know some parents go without because they just don't have the funds.
Another recommendation was calling cards. There really isn't any way to call long-distance friends and relatives from the hospital, particularly after you've checked out.
And, though we've been blessed and still have our children with us, some from the NICU don't make it. One thing that I learned from "lurking" over at Support for Losses is that the plaster of paris molds that you can put a hand and/or foot mold in are a wonderful keepsake of the baby. It's not something that the NICUs can really afford, but the families can benefit from it so much.
And, finally, window clings. You can't put stickers on the isolettes or cradles, but those window clings may be a nice way to decorate the area. They could be seasonal, or of a character, or whatever, and they can be used to brighten up the place!