Let me be honest. On October 27, 2013, I moved into UNC Women’s Hospital. Literally. After seeing everything I brought, I was confident that I hadn’t left one thing at home. (I pretty much brought the whole house with me!) I made sure I had all of my essentials: my pillow, all my beauty necessities, favorite pair of yoga pants, activities, and of course.. my Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
In a matter of 72 hours, I endured a total of 24 hours (12/12) on magnesium. This is the equivalent of 24 hours with no food. Except for hard life savers and ice chips. I realized then I didn’t have one thing I needed: cherry life savers.
I don’t want another mom to go without the cherry life savers! Magnesium is brutal, but being confined to a bed or a NICU for an extensive amount of time can be worse. I was extremely thankful for everyone who blessed me during my stay in the hospital and through our NICU journey! From personal experience, each and every little thing can brighten someone’s day!
So, I hope these ideas will help you put something together the next time you have a friend on bed rest or going through a NICU experience.
For a Mom on Bed Rest:
The Beauty Essentials: Even though we may look like beached whales laid up in the bed, we still want to feel like we are 40 lbs. lighter and looking fabulous! SO. Dry Shampoo- this will seriously be a new best friend and #1 must-have beauty item. Chapstick- these are two of my favorite lip balm products: EOS and Baby Lips. Some mascara, lotion, and body spray never hurt a girl before! Head Bands. It makes you feel slightly better about having your greasy hair in a pony tail 24/7. Click here to see these cute head bands suitable for any mama-to-be!
Breath Mints and Life Saver Hard Candies- glory. hallelujah.
Magazines- I took all of my baby books with the intention to read them while in the hospital. I didn’t read the first page of a single one. When you have doctors, nurses, and visitors, in and out of your room all day there isn’t much time for anything but light reading. Some of my favorite magazines are Southern Living, Real Simple, Cooking Light, Taste of Home, Woman’s Day, Parents, and People. Only for the crossword puzzles of course, duh. Why would I care who is going to be the next Bachelor? Except I totally do.
Calendar- it was fun to have a calendar to mark down each day we baked the babies and keep track of what happened each day.
Journals- Andrew’s grandmother gave us two journals for each of the girls when I was in the hospital. We used these for all of our many nurses, doctors, and visitors to leave messages to them to read one day! It is so special to go back and see what everyone wrote to the girls!
Homemade Goodies- There was nothing better than someone bringing something homemade to the hospital. I will always remember that Mrs. Effie Mobley sent her Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, my Ahma sent her pecan tartlets, and Andrew’s Aunt Melissa sent her pumpkin scones. Those chocolate oatmeal cookies were the very first thing I ate after giving birth. (I may or may not have forcefully told Andrew to give me that bucket of cookies…I blame it on the morphine!) I ate all of the pecan tartlets the day before the girls were born. So much sugar sent them into overdrive I believe! All in all, it was always nice to get something from “home”.
Thank You Notes- Over the course of a pregnancy, hospital stay, and NICU journey, you will be showered with gifts. It’s nice to have some thank you notes on hand, or a journal to at least keep all of the gifts recorded so you can send a thank you note in the near future.
DVDs and/ or Series Sets
For a Mom in the NICU:
(Pretty Much Everything Listed Above)
The idea of a gift basket is wonderful, but for a NICU Mom a bag is super helpful! You can ask our NICU nurses, I had bags upon bags with me everyday!
Water Bottle- these are awesome!
Sanitation Wipes (to clean pump parts!) and Tissues
Nursing Items: Lanolin, Nursing Pads, etc.
Preemie Clothes- Wal-Mart has a great selection of preemie size clothing at super low prices! There is also a precious boutique online that makes preemie clothes specifically for the NICU. We were given two adorable outfits, specifically one for Christmas. The girls wore them for their picture with Santa Claus! Click here to check out their selection in preemie boy/ girl clothing!
Disposable Camera- you can leave these at the NICU for nurses to take pictures when you are not there!
Parking Vouchers (If you have to pay to park at your hospital, of course)- We had a family give us a week of parking vouchers and this was so incredibly helpful!
Restaurant Gift Cards- These were humongous life savers to us during this time!
A list of helpful apps, NICU Support Groups, and Mom group websites and/or blogs. You can find a few to start your list here.
A list of recommended pediatricians.
Children’s Books- there were times when I wasn’t able to hold the girls, and reading to them helped me form a bond with my sweet babies. I kept these two books at the NICU: The Jesus Storybook Bible and Little Big Book for Moms.
I hope this post is helpful to you as you put together a gift bag for your friend or family member! If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me here!