Having a baby in the NICU is stressful.
Friends and family members want to help, but they’re often unsure about what they can do to lighten your load which leads to the inevitable question, “What can I do to help?”
This well-intentioned question isn’t meant to add any stress, and yet, it puts the burden on you to ask for what you need. And you don’t need anything else on your to-do list!
So, we’ve compiled this list of helpful tasks and small gifts that you can share with family and friends who want to support you during your NICU journey:
If You Are Local to the Family
Start a Meal Train
NICU moms barely have time to eat, much less plan a meal and cook! You can organize dinner deliveries through websites like Sirvve or MealTrain to provide delicious meals for their family throughout the NICU stay.
If you are delivering a homemade meal, use disposable containers (NICU moms don’t need to worry about returning dishes!), and plan to drop off and go. NICU parents truly appreciate your kindness, but they may not be up for visits right now. Drop a meal on the doorstep and plan a longer visit when parents are ready for visitors.
Start a Caringbridge
EVERYBODY wants to keep track of baby’s progress, but parents don’t have time to relay the same information over and over.
Make it easy for them to keep everyone in the loop by setting up a Caringbridge page (with their permission!!)
Take on Dog Duty
The family pets might be feeling a little lonely right now, and they would love a visit that includes a nice, long walk or some fun playtime.
Plus, knowing that their furry friends are being cared for makes it much easier for NICU parents to focus solely on their little one.
Do Some Housekeeping
Dust doesn’t stop when your baby is in the NICU! Offer to come over and do some cleaning around the house or throw in a couple of loads of laundry.
If you think mom would be hesitant to accept, give her a gift certificate for a visit from a cleaning service instead.
Tackle the Yard
Offer to mow the lawn, rake the leaves, or shovel the driveway. The yard will need some attention in every season, and NICU parents just don’t have the time to do it.
Coming home to a freshly mown lawn will lighten their load and brighten their day!
Make a Grocery Run
Stock their pantry with healthy, easy-to-grab snacks, and fill the fridge with fresh fruits and veggies to keep NICU parents feeling their best.
Plan a Sibling Adventure
When a new baby sister or brother is in the NICU, big kids often feel left out. Plan a fun adventure for the older kids. Parks, children’s museums, or even a good old trip to the movies with plenty of popcorn can be a great way to give big brothers and sisters a little extra attention!
If You Live Far Away
Gift Cards Welcome!
NICU parents are on the go all the time, and the expenses add up. Gift cards for restaurants, fast food, gas, and groceries are a huge help to NICU families.
Something Special for Mom and Dad
They’ll get plenty of baby gifts, but don’t forget about the parents! It doesn’t have to be anything big- a book by a favorite author to pass the time. A snack box delivery to keep them fueled. Every small gesture shows how much you’re thinking about them.
Keep Up with Baby’s Progress
If the family has a Caringbridge page, check it regularly and leave comments. It’s so heartwarming to know that so many people are rooting for your child and celebrating their progress!
Keep In Touch
Mom and dad don’t have a lot of extra time these days, so long phone conversations might have to wait, but there’s always time for a text!
Send a quick note via text or mail to inspire, encourage, uplift, or just put a smile on their faces!
Send a Care Package
Whether you are nearby or far away, your support matters. It can be hard to ask for help but your NICU family needs it now more than ever. Thank you for being a rockstar and stepping up to help during this stressful time.