The day you take your baby home from the NICU is a joyful day indeed! After weeks or months of being separated from your little one, having other people feed and diaper and bathe your baby, parents are thrilled to finally all be together and complete as a family. To prepare for that great day, I love to share my recommendations for products...Read More
Filtering by Category: Preemies
With everyone thinking about baking and cooking for the holidays, I started to wonder - what would the recipe for a preemie look like? Not just any preemie, but the perfect preemie! Here's my version of how one creates a typical preemie (as if there is one!!) - What would your perfect preemie recipe look like?Read More
My most recent read was Kate Hopper’s Ready for Air, a Journey through Premature Motherhood and I thoroughly enjoyed it. From the instant I felt it in my hands, with it’s beautiful, smooth cover and those adorable little toes, I wanted to pull up a blanket, make a cup of cocoa, and read for the afternoon. Once I started, I had a hard time putting it down....Read More
Dear Joey, I know you don’t remember me, but I remember you. We met during an incredibly stressful time, under the bright glare and nervous energy of an operating room in a near panic. I was in surgical scrubs, cap, mask and gloves. You were newly born and struggling to live. It was a long time ago...Read More
I've become interested lately in a program called Beads of Courage - have you heard of it yet? Today, guest blogger Sara Bollinger shares with us her NICU adventures and her personal experience with this inspiring organization. Enjoy....Read More
Are you ready for another way to warm your NICU-heavy heart? I'm happy to introduce you to a sweet little preemie blog, perfect for NICU Central readers. This is a refreshingly honest look at life with preemie twins...Read More
Since this summer has been all about positivity and fun, I want to share little bit of happiness. Just the other day, a grateful preemie mother & blogger wrote a letter to a NICU nurse, entitled "Dear NICU Nurse," in honor of her son's NICU nurses....Read More
Here is one book you will want to read if you have a preemie in your life. Aptly titled Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life, and Motherhood, this story provides a hopeful tale, one of struggling through the pain and fear of delivering a micropreemie, ultimately reaching a place....Read More
Sometimes we stumble upon things right when we need to, don't we? I've been focusing my energy lately on unraveling the mystery of how parents can find ways to make their NICU journey more joyful. Through the course of my reading and researching....Read More
How about some good news today? I'm delighted to share this inspiring story of a young girl, a 12 year old NICU grad, giving back. She's so sweet & generous, and her story is a great reminder that preemies are amazing! Enjoy....Read More
Every family enjoys celebrating as baby gets to one month, two months, and so on. NICU families do too! Have you seen those cute onesies for babies that show just how old the baby is, great for photographing your sweet little one's first year?....Read More
Hello friends! Yesterday's post about PTSD was a bit heavy, so today I feel like lightening it up a little bit. I'm going camping this weekend with my family, and I want to leave NICU Central on a happier and more optimistic note. I hope you'll enjoy this photo diary of one little NICU babe named Donovan who warms my heart. His family was kind enough...Read More
Dear New NICU Mom,
I recognized you the other day. You came out of the NICU, your husband right behind you. You walked slowly, like maybe you had a c-section last week, but you didn't still look pregnant. You were both crying softly. You looked exhausted. I knew that look....Read More
For all of you with little ones in the NICU, today is a day to celebrate kangaroo care! Here's a sweet, uplifting short video of a former micro-preemie who is now a mini-reporter going "undercover," asking the nurses & doctors who once took care of her to explain kangaroo care. So cute....Read More
Today I am excited to review an app for your iPad or iPhone called MyPreemie. I requested a copy of this app when I first saw it, because I've often thought "There needs to be an app for this!" And here it is. MyPreemie was developed by two parents of preemies and a neonatologist, the experts who wrote Preemies - Second Edition: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies. And I'll tell you right off the bat, I like it....Read More
Here is a lovely article from the New York Times about live music therapy for NICU patients - it's a video worth watching. And then it's worth talking with your NICU about how you might incorporate music therapy for your little one. Not every NICU has access to this kind of therapy, but if parents start asking,Read More
Recently, a NICU mother, one of those delightful, involved, engaged and proactive mothers of a preemie told me that the one thing she wished for from the staff, but never got, was to hear preemie success stories. Good preemie outcomes. Sure, doctors told her about risks, warning signs, diagnoses, treatments, & potential disasters looming in the future. But what she didn't hear was how many preemies do well. She wanted to hear about the former preemies graduating from high school, going to the Olympics, becoming doctors, or just living happy, healthy lives. She wanted to be able to focus on the positive, the hope. So, in her honor, and her sweet baby boy (who is home now, living a healthy happy life!), please enjoy these preemie successes:
Did you know Albert Einstein was a preemie?
Sir Isaac Newton, and Mark Twain? Yes, indeed.
Here is a short list of some amazingpremature babies who have changed the world.
What about Preemie Olympians? Yes, of course there are! Here are a couple of former preemies, who grew up to compete & win in the Olympics!
Of course, there are the millions of everyday successes. Maybe they haven't grown up to be world-famous (yet), but they warm the heart and fill us with hope. Check out these success stories @ babycenter.
Here's one example of one dad's words of encouragement for those of you still in the NICU:
My 25 weeker had a long and chaotic NICU stay (most of our issues were digestive) but he's doing really well now. Hang in there, mama. It's a rough road but it can wind up in a perfectly great place.
Here are his adorable pictures, from his time in the NICU, and then at eight months old (5 months adjusted). Beautiful!
And finally, a short, sweet video to remind you that your road may be long, but stay positive:
Want more preemie inspiration? Check out this adorable new book, written by a former preemie, illustrated by another former preemie, and filled with inspiring stories of amazing preemies throughout history! A treasure for any preemie family!
Hang in there, you will get through this. Want to share your success story?
Kangaroo care is another term for skin-to-skin holding, and it is wonderful. It's something you should be asking your NICU team about right away, if you haven't started already. Skin-to-skin holding has certainly been around throughout history, but its use for medically fragile infants came about in the 70's in Columbia when equipment shortages forced new ways of trying to help infants survive. Full-time holding and exclusive breastfeeding worked well for many of those infants, and since then the practice has been studied extensively. What the research shows is that it has measurable benefits for babies: it helps babies gain weight, reduces hospital-acquired infections, reduces pain, enhances mother-baby bonding, and can lead to earlier discharge to home. And all you have to do is get your baby skin-to-skin with you, when your baby is stable enough to tolerate it. It's free, it feels wonderful, it is good for baby, it is good for you.... so get started!
Each facility will have their own approach to kangaroo care, but do keep this in mind - some facilities may not yet be up to speed on including kangaroo care. Understand that in some NICUs you will meet resistance. Nursing staff may still believe it makes the baby too stressed, or it will make their work more difficult. Personally, I am a huge supporter of kangaroo care, and love to encourage parents to plan for it regularly. If your hospital is reluctant to allow kangaroo care, this is your opportunity to really be an advocate for your baby - print this article, or this one, and share it with your NICU team. Please advocate for what you want and respectfully educate, so that families who come after you will get the best care for their babies too. If it's what you want, stand up for it. But please also respect that your NICU team has your baby's best interest in mind and will allow it when the time is right. Also, as I have stated before, some NICU parenting jobs may seem scary, and this may be one of those times. You may feel afraid to hold your baby because she is extremely small, or because she seems unstable. But if the staff tell you that your baby is ready for it, please be brave and go for it - it is worth it! Don't just take my word for it, listen to what this mother had to say in The Preemie Parents' Companion:
"Ben's nurse asked us if we wanted to hold him. He seemed so frail, I didn't think that disturbing him seemed like a very good idea. But the nurse insisted.....I don't really know how toexplain the effect that holding Ben that first time had on me. Maybe it was the first time he seemed real to me, as if he were something more than just a bad dream. I couldn't hold him for long... but that short time proved to be a turning point. My numbness began to fade a bit, and even though I was still worried about what might happen, Ben became mine in a way he hadn't been before. I was, and still am, very surprised at the impact those few minutes had on my feelings. I will always be grateful to that nurse for forcing me to hold my son." 
When you do kangaroo care, plan to hold for at least an hour (which allows for at least one full sleep cycle), and longer is better. Make sure you are well fed, well hydrated, and go to the bathroom before it's time to hold. I would suggest that you do not plan on having visitors during this time - it is for bonding, connection. Turn off your phone. Find out if your hospital will allow you to use a specialty shirt like the NuRoo skin-to-skin shirt so that you can safely sleep with your baby (baby is on monitors) and you can both get much needed rest together. If you find it difficult to sit still for so long, remember to try some mindfulness practices during this long stretch of quiet time. Mostly, just enjoy this beautiful time together.
Please share your kangaroo care stories - was your NICU open to kangaroo care? What was it like the first time you held your baby skin-to-skin?
 The Preemie Parents' Companion, Susan L. Madden, MS, Harvard Common Press, pg 18