NICU Survival Kits: Part III (If you are still counting)

I’ve been hit with several emails from many of you around the country about our NICU Survival Kits (See Part I and Part II to get on board). I’m so excited to hear that some of you want to contribute, or better yet want to start your own NICU Survival Kits in your neck of the woods! Way to Pay It Forward, Fellow Bloggers! Today I want to discuss the contents of the kit.

Here’s some things that have been included so far in the kits…..

*On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tilman – I am HOOKED on this book! I’ve bought a total of 5 copies now for the kits, a few baby showers, and finally one for my boys. It’s illustrated and written so beautifully and I especially like it for preemies/multiples. Highly, highly recommend! (If anyone knows Nancy or the publisher, Feiwel & Friends, or perhaps the CEO of Amazon that could give me a discount for the cause – definitely give me a call!) PS I call dibs for future baby showers!

*Preemie Blankets – Thanks to Tami for volunteering to make these!!!! They are beautiful! (We could eventually use another knitter/crocheter/fleece cutter as demand for Kits goes up – so let me know if you’re a crafter)

*Lip Balm and Lotion – you have to wash your hands all day long at the NICU, even between each baby, which leads to dry chapped skin. Alcohol gel really starts burning! Eeeeowwwch!

*Disposable Cameras – One for each isolette, This way the nurses can snap a precious moment if you are away; It’s very difficult to leave you babies every night, especially as you watch moms all around you being wheeled out with their full-term newborns on their laps, so I think knowing that your leaving your nurse with a camera helps to know that you won’t miss everything. (Kodak, give me a call as well!) =)

*Snacks and Change for the Vending Machine – For the long hours and to hold ya over until shift change

*Name Tags for the Isolettes – Makes it personal and cheery. I have several of these pre-made and ready to go… Here’s a pic of me putting these together

*Journal – also to keep at the isolettes to record updates, notes to nurses, latest weights, thoughts, etc. It’s info overload – so writing things down helps you make sense out of it later!

Okay so here’s YOUR big part! Ready – who’s in? Your mission is to make these kits even better! Do some brainstorming, talk to other preemie moms and get their input, think creatively, and leave me a comment (or send an email) with your great ideas! Or do you have an ability that we could put to use for our project??? It’s a community effort! ‘Tis the SEASON!!!

(Don’t forget you are already contributing just by visiting our blog – so pass our blog along to others!!!)

20 thoughts on "NICU Survival Kits: Part III (If you are still counting)"

  1. GibsonTwins says:

    We had twins in the NICU and although their stay was only 18 days, it was awful leaving them at night (our nicu allowed us to stay in boarding rooms when they were available but not always were they available). What I found to be difficult was that I was leaving them each all alone in their little isolettes at night when I wasn’t there with them. We had itty bitty pals in their beds with them to let them know we were still there. I put a kitty in with our girl and a puppy in with our boy and it really helped. When they came home I put those into their regular cribs too.

  2. Carrie says:

    Jen, I am a crocheter and have a couple of sisters-in-law that do it too. I might be able to recruit them too, but should get some details before I committ anyoe! Do you have specific dimensions/type of yarn or anything else special about them?

  3. Adrienne says:

    I was going to suggest the same thing. I work at a hospital and our NICU has a volunteer group (called threads of love, that crochets premie hats and matching blankets. They put them in a set and when a new baby is admitted to the unit, they get their very own set to wear throughout their time there.

  4. Anonymous says:

    We do a Christmas Stocking that we take to the NICU each year with our girls. We started last year and are going again this year. One thing we include with out camera is a $5 gift card to wolf camera to develop the film and a small little photo album to put pic in. I also send chocolates for the dad to have.

    Kimberly and the GA GUinn Trips

  5. I found this book: Preemies: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies ($17 on to be really helpful. It helps you realize that a lot of what is going on with your baby is totally normal for a preemie and sounds a lot more scary than it is. Jen – my email is down, but I did get your messages -thank you! Once I get my email back up, I’ll send one your way.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This family who had quads is doing similar NICU kits so there may be additional ideas on their site. The second link is a beautiful video of them and how their project started.

  7. Kayla says:

    I was thinking about your kits when I was reading the news paper today. I live in AZ and this man is in Tucson AZ and has 3 boys in the NICU and has lost his wife. So maybe he could be a good candidate for your kit and anything else anyone would be willing to contribute.

  8. Becky says:

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while now. I’m a mom of 5 with 4 year old triplets (they will be on the 23rd) I was on bedrest in the hospital for 2 weeks before they were born and a mom delivered little packages for all the moms on bedrest, I just loved it and it brightened my stay! Your kits are an awesome idea as well. We lived 2 hours from the hospital so here are a couple ideas along those lines….phone cards for those long distant phone calls at any hour of the day, Starbucks & Jamba Juice were staples for us…maybe some gift cards for those locations nearby the hospital but not in the hospital. Just a couple thoughts, the items included are awesome and I know I would have loved them as well!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey Jen! I am somewhat of a sewer and have done several big blankets for my kids. I should be able to handle some premie ones. Also we have several older ladies in church that might be interested.
    Abby Harshbarger

  10. Krissy says:

    Thank you for posting about this. I really appreciate the information, and am so glad to have some direction in this area.

    And your Christmas card is ADORABLE!!! What a great idea for a layout, I took about 300 pictures of just my twins and there wasn’t one in the bunch with both smiling!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I just had an idea about the NICU kits (not sure if this is already implemented but worth asking). There are lots of people who would probably love to help out with these wonderful kits, but may not have the ability to knit or the like. So…how about setting up a Paypal account where anyone who wants to can donate any amount to go towards the kits and would save lots of shipping costs for items that you could use the money to purchase. Just an idea.


  12. Anonymous says:

    Jen, I have been following your blog and amazing story. I know you will probably have lots of blanket makers, but I am associated with Project Linus and think you might want to contact them. Check their national web site for the chapter coordinator in your area. Good luck with the project! AM

  13. Ashley says:

    yes, i was going to also mention about that poor father in AZ , his wife died from complications of childbirth leaving him alone to care for 3 tiny sons in the NICU. I am sure he is one that could benefit greatly from your kindness and generosity. I agree with some others as well about including gift cards for places like starbucks to grab a quick snack. I would be happy to go out and purchase some gift cards for the nicu kits. I also love to crochet and would be glad to create some blankets to donate to your cause. Let me know the specs needed and what type of yarn you prefer? Thanks!

  14. Stephanie says:

    Check with the March of Dimes (if you haven’t done so yet). They have a lot of materials, like journals, available for NICU families. That may save you time and money to put toward other things you would like to put in yuor kits.

  15. Becky says:

    What a great resource!

  16. Heather Pun says:

    Hi Jen,

    I've been following your blog for quite a while now and I don't think I have ever commented. My cousins wife just gave birth to a 25 weeker today who is 1 lb. 6 oz. and I am trying to figure out what the best way to help them is. I've got some ideas from your NICU survival kits but I'd love to have some more ideas that our family could do to help them out.

    Do you know what size the blankets are supposed to be for the NICU and what type of yarn/material is best?

    Thanks for your help.

  17. Lindsay W. says:

    I just came across your blog and if you still need help with these, I can put my card-making hobby to good use. I would be willing to make some tags for the kits. I can do whatever you need. Just give me somewhere to start from. 🙂

  18. emily larsen says:

    One thing that I would have loved while we had a baby in the NICU was just help with meals. So one idea is to give gift cards for them to have a night out to somewhere relatively nice (although fast food would have been wonderful too). It’s so tiresome and hard and exhausting, especially when you already have children at home. I remember wishing we could afford to just eat out once or twice on our way home from visiting our baby and not have to go home to make dinner and take care of all that dinner entails.

    1. QuatroMama says:

      Great suggestions, Emily! Can totally relate to food being such a burden when there were so many more important things to tend to.

  19. Rachel R. says:

    What about lengths of stretchy fabric to use as wraps (“carriers”) for babies who are stable enough for kangaroo care?

    Empty brag books – either for pictures of the baby/ies, or to keep pictures of older siblings with mama during all the time she’s at the hospital.

    And maybe a printed resource list? It could include things like, which might help with the food issue for those who do have some outside help but don’t want the hassle of coordinating things, along with support groups, etc.

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