Here is “My NICU Toolbox” of the top items I used while my twin girls, Lua and Lily Mae, were in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for almost 4 months. These nine things made NICU life EASIER. I hope at least one of these items does the same for you! Be sure to stick around until the end for the BONUS thing you’ll need. Please know I only recommend items I’ve personally used or love because I think you might like them too. 🙂
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1. Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter
This was a lifesaver for my boobs!
I received this nipple butter as a gift and it was one of the BEST things to happen to me while breast-pumping.
Breast-pumping became my new job. I was pumping milk every 2 to 3 hours, 8 times a day. Even though I was super stoked to provide my milk to my girls, my boobs went through A LOT. Chapped nipples, engorgement…you name it, I experienced it.
The one thing that truly helped me was using this nipple butter on my boobs when I pumped. When I stopped, my nipples became chapped. So this doesn’t happen to you, I advise to butter up those boobies before and after breastfeeding or pumping!
2. Kangaroo Shirt
While you’re snuggling your sweet pea, wearing a robe or Kangaroo shirt is a must-have to keep your babe warm and hold them in place.
Kangaroo care (aka skin-to-skin) is so important to do with your preemie.
This type of care is an evidence-based practice to help babies in the NICU thrive and develop. The benefits speak loudly. It helps babies regulate their heart rate and temperature, cry less, and improve breathing and brain development. Plus, it bonds you and your baby.
So get your snuggles on!
3. Maternity Belly Leggings
After my c-section, maternity leggings were the go-to clothing I wore daily. The belly band provided much-needed support to my stomach while I was healing!
Plus, it helped to suck in my belly pooch.
If you want to feel stylish and comfy all day long, I highly recommend wearing maternity leggings.
If you need added support for your c-section, an adjustable belly wrap is a must I wore this one for a couple of weeks post-recovery.
4. Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag For Breast Pump Parts
To quickly and easily sterilize breast pump parts, use a micro-steam bag.
I would sanitize my pump parts one time a day.
This is especially important to do to keep everything sanitized. Dirty pump parts can cause bacterial yeast infections for both you and your preemie so always keep your pump parts clean!
Before you purchase a box of micro-steam bags, check first with your child’s NICU nurse to see if this is something your hospital provides you.
5. Milk Screen Test Strips
When you want a “glass” of whatever it is you drink, test strips are a must-have!
Have a drink without the stress of pumping and dumping or wondering “is my milk ok”?
While I was breast pumping, I always used one for peace of mind when I would have a glass of wine. I love how these test strips detect even the smallest traces of alcohol with a color indicator that ranges from white to dark blue.
6. Nail File
It’s on YOU, the parent, to make sure your babe’s nails are trimmed while they are in the NICU. I truly don’t mind trimming my baby’s nails but I was surprised to learn this is something you have to bring in yourself. The NICU does NOT provide a nail file or anything for you to trim your baby’s nails down. At least the hospital we were at did not.
Use a nail file, NOT clippers, to keep your little one’s hands safe.
Clippers can cut your baby’s skin. Trust me, I know because it happened to my oldest when he was a baby and I felt awful!
I used this chargeable nail file because it’s designed for infants. Plus, there are other nail files included to grow with your baby through the years into adulthood. Psst, you can use it too!
7. Plastic Washing Basin For Breast Pump Parts
I used this to wash my breast pump parts. It helped to make sure my pump parts were separate from other dishes in my sink. Plus, it helps keep everything more sanitary while washing.
Before you purchase a washing basin, check first with your child’s NICU nurse to see if this is something your hospital provides you.
8. Postnatal Vitamin
There are many postnatal vitamins you can choose from, but I picked the Pink Stork Total Postnatal Gummies for a few reasons:
- Gummy candy is yummy! (If you’re not a fan of gummy candy, no worries, here is the Pink Stork Total Postnatal Vitamin)
- Safe for you and your babe
- Supports energy levels and mood for postpartum health
- Helps your milk supply if breastfeeding or pumping
Plus, it includes postpartum essentials like vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, as well as folic acid and iron.
These vitamins can help fill any gaps in your diet to give you peace of mind knowing you’re doing everything you can to support your health and the health of your little one.
9. Small Rolling Suitcase
When I was in my c-section recovery phase, lifting things was a no-go.
To make it easier to carry things to and from the NICU, I brought a small suitcase I could roll.
Items I packed included:
- Breast pump parts
- Breast milk in a cooler
- Computer (to work while I was pumping)
- Water and snacks
- Cell phone charger
- Nail file to trim down my girl’s nails
Of course, add anything else you would need to pack when traveling back and forth to the hospital.
BONUS: Preemie Clothes
When our girls were around 32 weeks, they started to wear preemie clothes. Now don’t feel like you need to go crazy and buy a huge wardrobe for your preemie! The hospital should have clothes they can provide for your little one.
Our NICU nurses told us “if we wanted” to bring in clothing, socks, and hats.
Of course, I couldn’t resist buying adorable preemie outfits! We figured when our girls grow out of them, we will donate their wardrobes to the hospital for other preemie babies. But I will definitely keep an outfit or two for memory’s sake.
The preemie clothing line I absolutely LOVE is “Touched By Nature” and “Burts Bees” on Amazon. It’s affordable, made of organic cotton, and their preemie outfits are just so darn cute. They have an array of adorable designs for boys and girls.
The button-down gowns are great for monitoring cords to comfortably hang out of.
Thank you for being here today!
What’s in your NICU toolbox? Let me know in the comments below. We could all use a little help along the way. 🙂
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About The Author
Lindsey is the proud mom of two little miracles, Mono Mono twin girls, and one AMAZING older bro! She is the founder and content creator of Mono Mono Twins, the blog Intensive Therapy for Kids, and Co-Founder of The LENN Foundation 501(c)(3) which helps children with cerebral palsy (like her sweet nephew, Lenny) receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive. ♥
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