My rainforest swing by fisher price was hands down the most useful thing when i first hand my son. The fact that you can use the adapter and plug in to the wall and not have to use tons of batteries was a life saver!
So my SIL gave birth VERY early last week..at 30.5 weeks gestation. My niece weighed in at 2 lbs, 1 oz. She has done miraculously..no vent the whole time, no emergencies and while she has not gained any weight yet, she is maintaining her birth weight at this point. She looks wonderful...even a full head of hair! I thought fat and hair grew last?? She is a tiny little spectacular miracle!
She will be needing some selections of preemie clothes, and other such things. But I am wondering what were the most useful things you had for Preemies or full term babies. There are so many more products and just..well..things now. When my niece had her baby last year, she wanted a Nap Nanny and loved it. Also I got her a really nice, high quality sleep sack that I think she used to death!
Any things you found especially wonderful for the little ones those first few months at home, or for the preemies, while still in the hospital, working on getting big enough to go home? Any suggestions are helpful!
My rainforest swing by fisher price was hands down the most useful thing when i first hand my son. The fact that you can use the adapter and plug in to the wall and not have to use tons of batteries was a life saver!
All the answers are great. What really helped me were:
blankets good for swaddling (at this point he's so small most blankets will wk)
cap for his teeny head
premie t-shirts to sleep in
Great answers as usual. I agree with Denise P! I do not know what I would do without the video monitor. I thought it was excessive and so I didn't register for it, but someone bought it for me as a gift for one of my showers. Greatest gift ever! Peace of mind leads to better sleep for mom or mom and dad.
My favorite must-have for babies, both in and out of the hospital, is the Boppy pillow. It saved my back while nursing and was/is a must-have in my book. Good luck to your sister!
P.S. I just read some of the other posts- great ideas. However, I would stay clear of the baby slings- they have been proven to suffocate babies. The Baby Bjorn is safer alternative and I love ours, another must-have for sure. Also, my sister had the miracle blanket and still swears by it.
my 25 week miracle is now in 1st grade - it's great to read how wonderful your SIL's little one is doing
I cherish my journal from the days in the NICU. I could write down her progress, the ups and downs, my emotions.... She now has a wonderful account of her unique beginning during those 4 months in the hospital.
Preemie sleepers with snaps or the gowns worked best for us. There are so many wires attached that you can't put them in a sleeper that zips up the front. Hats and preemie socks - we would put socks on her under her sleepers to help keep her body temp up.
Infant swing and bouncer...they were my life savers. Congrats!
Video monitor, hands down!
for sure a swing. When our baby wouldn't sleep w/ rocking, the swing was a god-send :) Also, esp. for a premie, lots of swaddling blankets and soft skull caps.
I couldn't have made it without an old fashioned, Jenny Lind Style, rocking cradle by my bedside, our infant swing, my boppy, and the book "what to Expect the 1st Year."
I gave a girlfriend in your sister's situation a well reviewed book about Preemies and what to expect. My girlfriend LOVED the book as it could be read as needed instead of chapter by chapter. It put in layman's terms the procedures, complications, etc. It also helps prepare parents for some of the developmental delays and health concerns specifically related to preemies. My girlfriend spent countless hours sitting with her daughter, talking with doctors and journaling EVERYTHING.
So I'd suggest doing some research on a Preemie's book and a journal for your sister. There will be TONS of info from the drs and she will not be able to absorb all of it at the time. She can make notes and then look it up in her book later. Plus a good journal will help her keep her days, feelings and her daughter's progress on paper. I can tell you as a child who's only been hospitalized twice briefly that all the days blend together!
If you want something else for your sister, why not a pre-loaded CD or load up her MP3 player for her. Staring at those hospital walls grinds on your nerves. It's nice to have something to listen to or a good book to "escape".
Not sure if there's a name for this product, but there's a soft, waterproof sheet cover that goes over the area where the baby's bottom is on the mattress. So, when baby's diaper leaks at night (and this is a guarantee at some point), you just lift off this cover and you're done. No full sheet changes at night, which I'm sure are even more of a hassle now that the drop-side cribs are all discontinued. Can't imagine trying to do a sheet change at 1 or 2 am with the bars fully raised.
I would recommend a baby wearing sling... especially since she's a preemie and side to side motion swing, I have the natural one and both my babies loved it (I did too)
this is what I have:
Expensive new, but I see them on craigslist and consignments shops and on sale at stores for very cheap all the time and the fabric comes off very easily to clean, so no worries buying a clean used one.
Gowns. My 3 were born 6 weeks early. I didn't want to buy a ton of premie stuff but I found gowns were the easiest. One came home weighing just under 4 pounds and it was just so much easier to put a premie gown on her than dealing with premie clothes that really were still too big--even though they are big it is really hard to make sure you have all those snaps right. Swaddling blankets and sleep sacks are a great idea. When they were in the hospital, the nurses told us kangaroo hugging was the best way so we held them skin to skin. A soft but light weight blanket for mom to use is also a great idea so she can do this when the time is right if she isn't already.
My son was born 6.5 weeks early (born on my baby shower day). The 2 things that were invaluable to me during the first few months was a co-sleeper (it nestles next to the bed for baby to sleep next to mom...nicer than a bassinet, and the Fisher-Price aquarium swing)....
But can I tell you what I treasured? I had one friend give me a gift certificate to a spa. I'm not the type to treat myself, so after my son was a few months old I went and it was amazing. There's so much stress in having a preemie versus term. Not only do you worry about their general health, but all the germs lurking everywhere that could harm them....The massage/facial was a perfect stress reducer.
Blessings to the new miracle!!!
swaddling blankets, esp for a preemie, esp for this time of year. i will tell you to get the aden and anias ones, they were by far my favorites. the material is a gauze, very breathable. they worked so much better for swaddling than flannel or regular cotton ones, and they were bigger. another kind that was good if you have no idea how to swaddle is the miracle blanket, but i think the aden and anais were more practical. and the other thing that is 100% needed is the bundle me to go in the car seat. it is wonderful and the most practical gift i can think of esp for a baby born in the colder months.
i do like the baby gowns, and i assume she probaly has a bouncer, boppy pillow, and swing? shopping cart cover is a necessity for when she is older. one thing i really like is the eurobath they sell at babies r us, check out the reviews. and for her when she is little, you get a bath pillow by leacho and put it in the eurobath and she wont slip at all, its wonderful, and can even be used in the sink or regular tub.
one thing that might be helpful is a sound machine, it doesnt have be one specifically for babies, but they do make them. the noise is familiar to the womb and drowns out other distractive sounds. it really was a life saver considering before that i had to have the bathroom fan going all the time.
other than that, i would make sure she has some type of sling. i would recommend googling baby carriers and buying from a specialty store. the baby bjorn and similar arent what im referring to. check them out, maybe a gift certificate would be better since you dont know which will suit her.
good luck for your little niece, hope she is home soon!!!
Swaddling blankets were our life saver. My son was born full term and these worked for the first 4 1/2 months, you might have to do some research online to find some small enough but I bet you can. Good luck and Congrats Auntie.
A boppy pillow (whether she is nursing or not), a gentle swing (preferably side to side movement) and a bouncy seat...these were definitely "must haves" when I had my little one!
Congratulations on you newest family member. And many thanks and blessings that she is a strong one!
Couple of things that came to mind. With both my babies the boppy pillow (the funny u-shaped pillow) was an absolute must. Not only when breast feeding but with daddy bottle feeding as well. It was just so much easier and more comfortable to snuggle the baby with.
Also, though it will be a few months before it is useable; the bumbo chair. Both of my babies were very small (though not preemies, just tiny girls). The bumbo wasn't out yet when I had my first, but with my second it was awesome and I wish I had had it before!! Would recommend it to any new mom.
Hi N., my 25 week 1lb 11oz preemie boy is now a junior in high school and has no lingering effects!
Yes, never enough teeny tiny preemie clothes.
I'd have to say the MOST useful thing was a zillion receiving blankets for swaddling. He liked to be wrapped up tight and spit up and blew out in his cloth diapers a lot, went through 5-10 receiving blankets a day!
congrats on your new neice.
We bought this "JOEY" thing that went in her car seat.
well at first she was in a car bed. til she weighed 6 lbs. we had to rent that from the hospital.
shoot and i cant remember the actual name- or who made it. but its kangaroo joey something.
it helped prop up baby in car seat so they sat in the right spot. along with a tube that went around her head to keep that from bouncing all around.
we now use the tube thing in her bed.
my precious preemie is now 3 and doing great..
they are for sure little fighters from day one.
my baby is still very tiny for her age, shes 3 and fits in 18 month clothes!! But smart as hell!!
good luck to your sil--
We loved our Fisher Price rainforest swing - it was 3 years ago that we were using it and I think I still have the songs stuck in my head.
I loved loved loved my Boppy pillow. It made breastfeeding and bottle feeding so much easier when I had some place to rest my arms as I was holding baby. As she got bigger, she liked just lounging in it on the sofa while I was sitting next to her.
One of my cousins got for my baby daughter the Pancake Bear from North American Bear Company - it's just a very soft floppy stuffed toy bear (they make other animals and dolls too). It ended up being her special lovely comfort object, so now it's what I like to give as a baby gift for everyone else!
Swaddlers.... since she was so eary she will really like to be swaddled. Also, my favorite thing was my bassinet. My daughter slept in her bassinet in my room for a very long time because she had RSV at 2 weeks. It scared me and the bassinet gave me peace of mind.
I had a foam cushion that was to support the baby when you were breastfeeding. That thing rocked. It was shaped like a bone, sort of, and was thicker at one end than the other.
It turned out I couldn't breastfeed my preemie, but the "bone pillow" (as we called it) was perfect for supporting my elbow as I held the baby. Maybe it's just me (I'm 5"4'), but the armrest of a couch or chair never held my elbow up high enough and it could be really uncomfortable. If I wedged the cushion under my arm (and over the armrest) it gave me perfect support and I could hold that tiny baby for hours. Which, of course, I did!
My 30 week preemie (who weighed a whopping 3 lbs 14 oz) is now a strapping 13 year old who is taller than I am!
My preemies spit up a lot, so I used a lot of cloth diapers while burping.
I loved my Halo sleep sacks. They also make swaddling sleep sacks now too. The baby may come home on an Apnea monitor, so Halo products are great because they zip down. Most brands zip up which leaves the monitors cord by your babies head, so they are unusable. The baby will be up every two to three hours like clockwork for a long time. A zipper can save time on diaper changes, and help Mommy get a little more sleep. Another item I wished I had was a little sign for my stroller/car seat warning people not to touch. Germs are a really big deal for preemies, and can stress the Mom out when people get too close. I am not sure who makes the signs, but it is worded in a polite way. Also, a sign for the front door reminding people to wash their hands would be nice. Make sure everyone in your family is careful to avoid the baby if at all sick (even a cold), as the babies lungs will take extra time to mature. I also liked hand sanitizer that clipped to the outside of my diaper bag, as clean hands are a must due to germs. Also, if you are a a smoker, or anyone else in your family is, don't hold the baby. Studies are showing that even third hand smoke can be harmful. She will be too preoccupied to shop, so ask her what she needs ready when she gets home, as she likely wasn't prepared yet. Dropping off a meal will be appreciated. Having a preemie is far more exhausting physically and mentally than a term baby. I have had both and can't believe the difference. My Mom came over the night before we brought our daughter home to help de-tag clothes so I could get them washed. I wasn't prepared because I had been on full bed rest for a month before my daughter came 6 weeks early. You could also offer to help clean before the baby comes home.
My SIL had a premie last year and the one item they said they couldn't live without is an angel mat. You put it under the baby and if they don't breathe for a certain amount of seconds it sounds an alarm. WONDERFUL for premies who may have problems with such things. They had it go off a couple of time (false alarms) but it was there if for nothing else then piece of mind. Good Luck in the days/weeks/ months to come! I was a premie weighing in at 2 lbs 12 oz. And I turned out fine. By the way they say girls are fighters!!!!
I haven't read all the responses, but it looks like you've gotten some good ones. I'll reiterate:
-Fisher Price papasan swing
-gowns (great for all the newborn diaper changes)
-baby carrier (sling or Beco/Ergo-type)
With my third child I bought a temporal thermometer (the kind you rub on their forehead) and love, love, love it. I wish I would have bought it 9 years ago! It's so nice because you don't wake the baby up when taking its temperature and it is very fast and accurate. Another present I love is a mini rearview mirror for in the car. My daughter is 9 and I still use it. Have one in each car. Best wishes!
I loved our baby carriers...we were given a baby bjorn and another one (sorry can't remember the name). The bjorn was nice in that it was very portable but it wasn't stiff enough to help hold up our baby's head. the other carrier wasn't quite as portable but was stiffer so it held his head up better. I loved them because then I could use both hands when shopping or doing other things around the house and our baby was happy because he was still getting contact with Mom or Dad. The two items I wish we'd had were a baby swing and a portable crib. Both would've been very handy and helpful.
My favorite item is the Diaper Genie. I've had mine for 4 years and it still works great.
We couldn't live without the Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe wrap. Swaddling works wonders for the newborn's sleep!
I had 3 preemies and I would have to say a baby wrap. It is safer to use with newborns because you keep there feet tucked up. They are close to you and can get your warmth and heartbeat. My website gives directions on how to use them and the benefits (www.MaRooBaby.com). You can also use them for kangaroo care without being exposed yourself. If you want I can talk you through how to make your own or get them cheaper than what you see on most websites.
Don't forget to take care of yourself too! It is so easy to get caught up in baby but you need your strength!
My first daughter was born at 28 weeks, and she weighed 2 lbs. 4 oz. I am happy to say that she is a normal, healthy 6 year old now. If your SIL is planning to nurse, I would suggest a Boppie. I didn't have one with my first, but I did get one with my second, and it made a huge difference. Also, our 5 point harness carseat was essential because she was so tiny. When we left the hospital, 6 weeks after birth, she was up to 5 lbs., but still tiny, and the hospital recommended the 5 point harness. We only bought a few preemie outfits for her to wear in the hospital. Once we brought her home, she was wearing newborn outfits, so I wouldn't load up on the preemie clothes. The NICU had little undershirt type things for her to wear, too. Good luck with your search, and good luck to your new niece and SIL with this journey!! I know it was reassuring to me to hear about other preemies who made it through just fine.
I have preemie twins and they spent a month in the NICU. A few things I found really helpful right off the bat...
1. A Flip camera for quick little bits of video. it's small and will easily travel with her to and from the hospital.
2. A nursing cover. She won't be nursing per se, right away, but she might be pumping. Most of the pumps in the NICUs are on wheels and she can pump right at the baby's bedside (or isolette side, as the case may be). Also good for "kangaroo care"--they'll likely encourage this.
3. Portable shelf-stable food. She can snack on at the hospital--think granola bars, V8 juice, pretzels, etc. She'll appreciate it and will need some sustenance!
4. Magazines for her and children's books for the babies. They'll encourage reading to the baby. I read everything out loud, including the latest fall fashion on boots articles.... it's all about having them hear your voice, of course!
When she gets home--Thick cotton (not flannel) blankets--they are receiving blankets, I guess... they feel like nice t-shirt material and carter's makes them. They are smaller than typical swaddling blankets, but the perfect size for swaddling preemies. The real swaddling blankets are just too big.
Good luck. It goes fast and soon she'll be home. I'll keep your family in my prayers!
Sleep sacks! I used the sleep sacks with my premies, and loved them.
onestepahead.com sells breathable, mesh crib bumpers. Arms and feet won't get stuck in the crib rails with the bumpers up, and if the baby rolls her face into the bumpers she can breath right through them! LOVE them.
A mesh, newborn/infant bath chair - not a tub- made it so easy and great for bath time. Fits right into the tub or sink.
The popular Bumbo seat is a fun little thing to have, but way not worth the price. A used one from a rummage or something is perfectly fine, but putting the baby in an exersaucer propped up with blankets around 3/4 months works just as well and is more entertaining for the baby.
Wal-greens sells "No Throw" bottle and cup straps that you strap one end around the cup and the other end around the high chair/stroller/restaurant high chair, etc. so when the cup falls or gets thrown it won't hit the ground. LOVE it!
Our daughter was not quite as early as your SIL's baby, but these are my suggestions for a new baby, especially a preemie:
A SIDS monitor. I found mine at Baby's R Us for about $100 - a bit pricey, but I swear it saved my daughter's life once! Even if you never would have needed it, the peace of mind is worth it!
I also suggest a boppy pillow for nursing, if she does choose to. It helps any mom support her baby while feeding, but especially helps boost the tiny ones up to where they need to be.
Pampers swaddlers diapers for preemies were the best brand for us, so I suggest using those when the baby is out of the hospital - though it's really your SIL's preference on brand.
And I agree the mom who posted about kangaroo care. My husband and I did it while my daughter was in the NICU and right after she came home. It's a perfect way for a daddy to get some special time with the baby, especially if the mom is nursing - then he can have his own time.
Sleep sacks were the greatest! My daughter was in the NICU because she couldn't maintain a normal body temperature. So we were always worried about her getting too cold. Since you can't use blankets, the sleep sacks are perfect to make sure the little one stays warm (and safe) during the night. Great for any size baby, actually. You can also find these at Baby's R Us, or probably most places. They sell them in cotton or fleece.
Congrats on your new niece. I'm glad she's doing well for being born so early. Take care and have fun!!
My swaddlers! They had them at target. They're set up so that you put the baby in this pocket and fasten the tabs around them. My daughter practically lived in them those first few weeks!
Baby Bjorn... those little ones don't want to be put down. If she has reflux like my early baby... a crib wedge is a life saver. And my last couldn't live without... a Boppy for nursing.
Have to add one more... the Angel Care Monitor. Its the movement sensor one that someone else mentioned. My preemie would stop breathing and I was so scared to sleep at first. It actually blinked every time she would take a breath.
i had my son as a premie to and he wouldnt take a bottle unless it was a nuk bottle nuk bottles are the shape of a womens nipple and it reduces colic they have airvents so that the baby wont get air bubbles
I love my Baby Comfy Nose nasal aspirator! it work soooo much better than those silly bulb syringes!
You have a lot of great ideas. I quick-looked through and didn't see my ideas so from experience with a 31 weeker and 33 weeker:
http://www.prematurelyyours.com/ has a great baby book that includes oxygen, blood/lab test areas etc as well as info all the way to age 5.
the other thing that was invaluable was a BUMBO chair. She won't be able to sit in a timeline like a normal baby usually so a highchair might not be the best thing when she is ready to try her first foods at 6months or so. the Bumbo can be a lil spendy but usually can be found 2nd hand at a kid's thrift store. Has a taller back and deep cushy seat for sitting.
I didn't see any recommendations for an exersaucer or walker which our PT/OT recommend AGAINST because it promotes toe walking when babies are too small to reach properly.
One last thing...Dinner? Frozen meals are a life saver for in the NICU time to when baby comes home. They can have nutrition without having to fret about cooking.
We just brought our 2nd home from the NICU in January this year so we really appreciated having dinners made ahead :)
Edelweiss Baby in Maple Grove has preemie clothes in two separate sizes, up to 7lbs and up to 5lbs. They are the only place I've seen clothes that small (went shopping for a friend's daughter who was born at 28 weeks)
Aw, just a little peanut. My daughter also was a preemie (32 weeks)--so glad to hear your niece is doing well. My daughter was also born in the fall (in 2000).
The toughest thing for us was to find preemie clothes. Also, i don't know whether your SIL's hospital will send her home with an iron supplement for the baby (ours did) and it stained our daughter's clothes terribly--just an fyi for your SIL--she'll want to use a bib.It was also difficult to find a snowsuit that fit well.
I used a Boppy and sometimes a different nursing pillow to support my daughter while she nursed. I really liked having that.
One thing we did at the hospital with our daughter was "kangarooing." The parents (dads can do this, too) hold the baby on their chest skin-to-skin. This was a wonderful way to bond with her. Here's a wikipedia that describes it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangaroo_care . We didn't use any strips of cloth as this article describes. We just held her against us under a blanket.
Two items I can't live without are my Baby K'Tan baby carrier and My Brest Friend nursing pillow. They rock. The carrier is simple to use, no buckles or typing, 8 different positions. My daughter loves being in it. The My Brest Friend pillow saves my back and puts the baby at the right level to be fed, and, unlike the Boppy, it stays put due to the velcro strap. I also find the little pocket handy to hold nursing lanolin or anything she may want to keep handy.
Video monitor a must...
Don't know if anyone mentioned it specifically, but the Miracle Blanket is really a miracle and something I definitely could not live without. It's a bit pricey, but worth every penny and so much better and safer than a lot of the other swaddling blankets out there, especially with really little ones.
I loved my Munchkin Dishwasher basket. I think it was $5 at Target and it saved my hands from having to wash so many bottles. Because my dishwasher has a sanitize cycle on it, I could just pop the bottle pieces into the basket and let her go.
I also loved my custom swaddling blankets. My grandmother made them out of stretchy flannel (I had a February baby) and so they were warm and fit my DS tight, which he loved.
My other item I couldn't do without was our white noise machine. When I moved him out of our room and into the crib at 7 weeks, the white noise machine really helped him sleep well.