My daughter was born at 34 weeks to the day. She spent the first month of her life in the NICU at the hospital she was born in. Life of having a baby in the NICU is rough and emotional. Its one of the hardest things I have gone through in my life. There are several "must haves" for yourself and baby during their stay in the NICU. These are the products that made life easier for us during Claire's stay!
Boppy With a child in the NICU you spend long hours there just holding them (when your allowed to) and once your allowed to breastfeed/bottle feed having a boppy comes in very handy. Plus once you get your precious little one home its becomes one of the most useful baby products you can own.
Receiving Blankets and lots of them! Not only do babies in the NICU spend their days swaddled, the NICU (at least Claire's) made up her isolette and eventually her open crib in her own receiving blankets to make it feel a little more like home for her and us.
Premie Clothes The NICU does everything they can to make sure your baby's stay feels as close to normal as possible. So I recommend bringing in plenty of premie clothes/pajamas. Everyday they would dress Claire just as you would at home. Though make sure whatever you buy has snaps, this is important because of the lead wires and IV's will need to be threaded through and that is difficult with pajamas that has a zipper instead of snaps. Also bring in several hats, maintaining temperature on their own is a big milestone in the NICU.
Bath Soap The NICU encourages parents to be as involved as possible in their baby's care. This includes giving baby a bath. They will have bath time soap, but we found it nice to bring in Claire's own bath time soap and lotion for after. We use Johnson and Johnson's bedtime bath products. Don't worry about a towel our NICU used warm blankets and a warming lamp during Claire's bath time.
Breast Pump If you decide to breastfeed you will need to start pumping immediately if you baby is premature. You will have to trigger your body to start producing due to the premature delivery. Its also very important and helpful to bring any pumped milk you can to the NICU to feed to your baby once they decide baby can start being fed by bottle.The NICU will supply you with pump containers to pump into and bring in (everything has to be measured in the NICU). Our NICU had two pumps rooms with pumps that I used during the day while I was at the NICU, but the Medela Symphony is the hospital grade pump I use at home. Even now that Claire is almost 8 months old I still have to pump as Claire has struggled to gain weight and is still on fortified breast milk (26kcal) and formula.
Till next time!