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Mother's Day in the NICU - The Absolute best gift guide for every budget


Mother's Day in the NICU - The Absolute best gift guide for every budget


Mother's Day is just around the corner, and it's no time to forget the NICU moms in your life. In fact, stressed out, worried, overwhelmed NICU moms deserve pampering and loving more than any others, in my opinion. 

So don't let this year pass by without treating NICU moms to a fantastic Mother's Day. 

Gifts from the NICU staff

It's wonderful for nurses and staff to surprise moms with something sweet for Mother's Day, but the gifts often have to be no-cost or low-cost. Here are a few ideas that NICU moms are sure to love:

Free printable cards, Photo Cards & poems from baby

It's always fun to make a simple card that's "from the baby" for moms.

If you want it quick & easy, I've created a few printable cards here that you're free to copy and use. Two cards per standard 8.5x11 paper. Click here to see all of the print-ready images to download and use.

The circles are meant to be cut out and placed next to baby for a photograph, and obviously the footprint cards are blank, so you can put each baby's footprints on them. The others are simply cards you can sign from the baby and have sitting in the crib or at the bedside for when mom arrives. 

Or, you can find tons of ideas on Pinterest, so create your own!


I think this could be a fun one for the NICU nurses & staff - why not have a single helium balloon for each mother who visits on Mother's Day? It's a traditional, "typical" Mother's Day gift which may help NICU moms feel festive and normal, which is a beautiful gift! (Non-latex, of course, if that's your hospital policy)

Find a local musician to play music

Some NICU's are fortunate enough to have harp or violin players who volunteer their time to play soothing, calming music for the babies, parents and staff. If your NICU does this already, I bet you have it all set up for them to play on Mother's Day.

But if you don't have this, why not ask around and find out if you can do it? First check with administration, and then locate your musician(s) - harps, violins, even quiet acapella groups serenading mothers as they arrive could be sweet. You know it would amaze and delight mothers to have such a treat on their special day.

nicu mothers day brunch.jpg

Host a Mother's Day brunch at the hospital for all YOUR NICU moms

Many families celebrate Mother's Day with a traditional brunch, but it's pretty hard to feel like celebrating without your baby safe & home.  And honestly, many NICU moms feel as if nobody else truly understands what they're going through.

So why not facilitate a brunch for all the current NICU moms to enjoy? Find a room in your hospital that's available, and make it happen! Whether you ask everyone to bring food in for a potluck, or you convince the hospital to provide some complimentary snacks (think of the great PR!) - it'll be a brunch those moms will absolutely remember! You can keep it totally simple, or go all out with balloons and flowers, music and more!

a gift of hospital cafeteria gift certificates makes a wonderful way to show a mom your love

Give vouchers for meals at the hospital cafeteria as a gift

Whether your hospital volunteers buy the vouchers, or maybe the hospital donates them, it's an inexpensive gift the hospital can give that the parents will really appreciate!

nicu photographer photos for mothers day in nicu.jpg

Arrange for a professional photographer to take photos

You might be able to convince the hospital newborn photographer to do complimentary NICU sessions on Mother's Day, or you may be able to find a local newborn photographer who will do a photo session for all the moms at a reasonable price. It's worth looking into, because -wow, will it make your moms delighted!

Print T-shirts

It's not too expensive to print T-shirts - why not print T-shirts for every mom? You can buy printable iron-on fabric, or you can order T-shirts online pretty easily from printers such as this and this. What should the T-shirt say? How about:

  • World's Greatest NICU Mom!

  • I'm a NICU Mom - What's your Super Power?

  • Mother's Day, 2017 - Along with the name of your NICU and your hospital logo

  • 'Sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your heart (AA Milne)' - Mother's Day 2017

Or have some fun, and have a staff party to tie-dye T-shirts so every mom can have a matching shirt - it doesn't even need to be printed with words!

Time & listening

It's the simplest thing, but make a point of sitting down with your patient's mother and really asking how she's doing. Talk with her, and listen to her. Most moms say that having a good connection with the nurse caring for her baby is just about the best gift in the world, so on this day especially, give her that gift. 

nicu nurse talking with mother.jpg

Gifts from Family & Friends

If you have a little money to spend and you're looking for an appropriate gift for a NICU mom, here are some super ideas that are sure to show you care and understand. 

Shadow boxes

A shadow box is a wonderful way for mothers to display the precious keepsakes from their days in the NICU - tiny baby hats, tiny blood pressure cuffs, hospital bracelets, itty bitty diapers, and more. It's something moms will thank you for!

Inexpensive voice recorder

Parents rarely think of this, but it's a fantastic way for babies to keep hearing their mother's (and father's) voice even when they're not right beside them.

Moms can record themselves reading books to their babies, telling them stories, singing them songs, or just telling them how much they love them.  Then the nurses can play the recordings when mom is away.

But most moms won't take the time to order a voice recorder, so you can do it for her!  (The two shown here are each priced below $25, so they are a reasonably affordable gift)

Care Package of voice recorder & books

Why not take it a step further and make a sweet care package of one voice recorder bundled with several great read-aloud baby books? This will truly surprise any NICU mom and delight her, because it gives her a way to bond with her baby which is super important during the NICU. There are SO many amazing books I love for reading in the NICU - you'll have to check out my 75 favorite books to read to NICU babies!

NICU Crib Art

OK, here's a shameless plug for my own product, but it really is a sweet way to bring some joy to the NICU. These NICU-specific quotes and prints are something many moms don't know about, but absolutely love when they have them. There are many styles to choose from, so you're sure to find just the right design for your NICU mama. 

Bundle of gift cards

The NICU is expensive, in many ways. So moms really appreciate gift cards for the everyday things - groceries, gas, coffee, and meals. Why not package a few of these with a nice Mother's Day card? She'll love it!

Hands-free pumping bra

Now, you'll have to be a pretty good friend to feel comfortable buying this for your NICU mom pal, but boy will you be her BEST friend if you give her this gift. If she doesn't have one already, and if she's pumping for her baby in the NICU, I can just about guarantee she will adore this! I have yet to meet a pumping mom who wasn't thrilled to finally have a hands-free bra! Just think about it - pumping every 3 hours EVERY DAY, and without a bra like this, you can't do a single thing but sit there and feel annoyed at the whole situation! She'll love it...

Contact a professional photographer

Professional baby pictures are something every mother treasures, and it's particularly true for NICU moms. Why? Often because they don't even realize it's possible, so it's a wonderful surprise to find out that it is indeed possible!

You might contact Preemie Prints or Capturing Hope  or The Tiny Footprints Project to inquire about photographers in your area who are skilled at doing NICU photography, and then request a photo shoot. Or you can contact the family's NICU to ask if they know any photographers for hire who do newborn photography in the NICU. If you find one, hire her! Oh, your NICU mom friend will adore it! Having beautiful keepsake photos from the NICU is a true gift.  For example, here are just a few from the amazing  Kansas City-based NICU photographer Jessica Strom of Believe in Preemies:


If the NICU mom in your life is a reader, I'd like to suggest that you surprise her with one or two books she may not know about, but will definitely love.  Below are some of my favorites, and I've reviewed most of them here on my blog. Click any image below to learn more.

Want more book ideas? Check out this list of my favorite Children's Books specifically for preemies & NICU babies - they'll be great for mom to read to her little one. 


Yes, NICU mothers adore jewelry (if they're jewelry types) particularly if the jewelry specifically reminds them of their little one, if it helps her feel connected during the times they're apart.

Customized charm necklaces from Lisa Leonard are my all-time favorites, because you can have baby's name imprinted on the charms, and/or add baby's birthstone. I also love meditation & prayer beads for the moms who are open to it, because they can be very calming and comforting.

Self-Care Indulgences

Why not treat her to a much-deserved indulgence?  These might help her relax and unwind from the overwhelming stress she's going through. This foot massager, foot spa or neck massager (all of them would be great to use while pumping!) - anything that indulges and encourages self-care - would make a great Mother's Day gift.

Tote bags

Either a nice bag for mom to bring all her snacks & water bottles and books with her to the NICU, or a cheerful cooler tote to deliver pumped breast milk, will make a very thoughtful and useful gift.

Snack Care Packages

A bundle of portable, delicious snacks will make eating on the run more fun! You can easily package a box full of indulgent granola bars, gourmet popcorn, fancy gums & even a few sweets to give your foodie-mom a fun gift. 

Wishing Ball & Gratitude Globe

"A piggybank for wishes, dreams, blessings, and thank you's"

Now this is a really unique and very uplifting gift idea for NICU moms. The idea is this - write down your hopes & dreams, and the things you're grateful for, and tuck them inside this beautiful hand-blown globe. It's a way to focus on the positives, which is something every NICU mom can use a little help with.  You can find them in several colors here.

Matching T-shirts

How about this adorable set of T-shirts, for NICU moms with babies big enough to wear newborn size onesies? 


It's the traditional Mother's Day gift, which makes it particularly wonderful for NICU moms. Why? Because when nothing else feels normal or traditional about their newborn experiences, a thoughtful ordinary Mother's Day gift such as flowers may mean the world to her. It can say "Yes, we honor you as a mother during this time when it might feel particularly difficlut to be a mother." Which is awesome.  (And yes, you can even order flowers nowadays on Amazon!)



I'm sure I could go on and on, but I hope you get the idea- YES, treat NICU moms to a wonderful Mother's Day, YES, there are gifts in every price range to show her you care! What would YOU add?

Photos by Jessica Strom shared with permission. Affiliate Links included.