When a baby is born too soon it can be very difficult for friends and family to know what to do. Is it a celebration even though the future of a tiny life is so uncertain?
When I gave birth to Esther and William I was a bundle of mixed emotion but among the sadness, fear and worry there was joy and pride too. I had given birth to two beautiful but tiny babies who were fighting for their lives. I was going to be strong for them and make the most of the time that we had. Thankfully our story has so far had a happy ending, the twins will soon be two and a half.
I still think of those earliest days and before Matilda I felt robbed of my happy birth and people coming to visit us for cuddles in the hospital, bringing balloons.
I remember people visiting us when Esther and William were born. I cried so much to begin with but by the time my sister in law and my best friend came in the afternoon I was feeling some hope and masses of pride for the little bravehearts David and I had created.
I wanted people to say well done and to bring us presents. I was a new mum just like any new mum. I had new babies. Two! I was proud of what love had done. I needed positive people around me to help me be strong for our babies.
As it happened when Matilda was born we asked people not to come to the hospital. It all happened over night and we wanted the day to bond as a three before heading home for tea and to begin our busy life as a family of five!
If someone you know has a baby too soon. Here are some of the things you might buy.
Comforters That Can Be Used As Blankets
When Esther and William were first born and in their incubators they were not able to wear clothes or have covers. Their skin was so fragile and it needed to continue to develop in a warm, humid environment. The day that their hunidity was turned off and their environmental temperature started to be reduced was an occasion to be marked and celebrated. We bought them each a baby comforter which because of their tiny proportions they were able to use as a blanket! Everyone on the unit knew about the Teddykompaniet blankets covering the Henley twins. All the staff knew that the giraffe was little Esther and the elephant was tiny William. The comforters provided them with comfort and an identity.
A Small Soft Toy
Once babies are out of humidity they can have bedding and also small toys. If they had been around for Esther and William’s arrival I would have loved them to have Safebreathe toys in their incubator. Matilda has a Hoppy and she loves him. Esther and William did not have toys in their incubators but they did have the animals attached to their comforters. The jungle ones and also some very cute Jellycat bunnies. These were mostly used as super soft blankets. Esther and William, and Matilda, use them now as toys.
Another gift that I would have loved for collecting all the bits and pieces from NICU such as CPAP hats and arm splints is a memory box. There are some beautiful ones around on the Internet. I love these from Born Gifted. They have gorgeous designs for girls and boys.
One thing that can be bought for any mummy I think is a pack of muslin squares. They have so many uses and for prem babies they can be used as an extra layer of warmth or a bottom sheet on their cots. These beautiful muslins from Aden and Anais would make a wonderful gift and can be used well into the toddler years. And beyond.
Stories To Read Aloud
One thing that I loved doing when Esther and William were in the hospital was reading to them. I read poems and picture books, short stories and news. It was soothing for me and them. It gave us a connection. A good present might be a collection of stories to read aloud. I loved reading Bible stories to Esther and William. To this day they seem to enjoy them too. I have a Lion Storytelling Bible. It is great for young kids. We used one of the stories at Esther and William’s christening last year.
As premature babies continue to grow and as their health improves they reach a point, a beautiful point when they are allowed to start wearing clothes. I think that a clothing bundle from Teddy and Me at this point would be a lovely gift for a new mummy and her preemies.
One other present that would be nice for mummy and baby is a Cuddle Dry apron towel. When you first bath your premature baby it is on the special care ward for all to see and unless you are prepared you might have to dry your baby in a hospital towel. A thoughtful gift therefore for a prem baby and their mummy is a pretty and practical, super soft towel.
As a mummy with babies on NICU I washed my hands more than ever before in my life. I continued to do so when I came home and a bottle or tube of luxury hand cream would have been the perfect indulgent gift for me.
These are some presents you might like to buy for a new mummy and her premature babe.
What is the best new mummy or baby gift you have been given?