People ask all the time - "What do you NICU nurses REALLY like to receive as gifts from families?"
I can't speak for everyone, but I'll share some of my personal favorites, as well as those things I hear NICU colleagues mention as their favorites as well.
Please keep in mind these two things when giving gifts to NICU staff:
- Gifts either need to be for the entire unit to share, or if you're giving a gift to an individual, it most likely needs to be something worth less than $10-$25, depending on the hospital, because staff can't accept individual gifts that are too expensive. (Darn it!) Ask your nurse or charge nurse.
- If you're bringing food gifts, the staff will REALLY appreciate it if you bring two distinct gifts - one for night shift and one for day shift. Otherwise, the whole gift may be gone before half of the staff even have a chance to enjoy it!
Creative and crafty folks like to make their own, while others find beautifully prepared baskets ready-to-go. Either way, gift baskets are greatly appreciated because usually there is something for everyone. Here are a few different ideas:
Pack small, individual gift bags, or even christmas ornament balls, with candies, bulk travel size toiletries, teas and coffees, and more to make wonderful small gifts for individual nurses.
You truly can never go wrong with sweets!
A Healthier Gift Basket
Because nurses are given lots of sweets during the holidays, many staff really appreciate healthier gift baskets. They make a refreshing surprise!
Books for the NICU library
For a gift that will keep on giving, and benefit NICU families in the future, you might consider purchasing books that the NICU can lend. These are some of the most popular ones, I highly recommend all of them:
You can find some adorable gifts on Etsy that are specific for nurses. Whether you buy an inexpensive downloadable print to share with a favorite nurse, or custom ID badge holders, or you go all out and personalize water bottles for every nurse in the unit, the sky's the limit! Here are some of my favorites (click 'em to go straight to the Etsy seller's page):
For another incredibly thoughtful gift, one that NICU's everywhere LOVE, consider a MamaRoo swing. They're the best around! Babies LOVE them, particularly the fussy, difficult to console ones. Future NICU families and the staff will greatly appreciate it!
I hope you find some inspiration for great gifts here. The nurses and staff at your NICU will be so thankful for your generosity and thoughtfulness.