Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, but if you’re in the NICU you’re probably not thinking about side dishes, desserts, or football.
When your baby is in the hospital, it’s awfully hard to focus on anything else, and it can be tough to get excited about holidays. You might not feel up to a big celebration, or you might be staying away from crowds to protect your little one from big germs like flu or RSV, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip Thanksgiving all together!
How do you celebrate Thanksgiving in the NICU? Be flexible! Thanksgiving might look a little different for your family this year, but there are still plenty of things to be thankful for. Here are some ideas to help you celebrate Thanksgiving in the NICU:
Add Some Festive Fall Décor
The options are endless when it comes to Thanksgiving decorating in the NICU! Cut out construction paper leaves, or make good, old-fashioned handprint turkeys. Turn them into a keepsake by writing something you’re thankful for on each one. You can even make a new family tradition and add to the collection every year!
Choose a Special Outfit for Your Little One
This is your baby’s first Thanksgiving, and that’s an event worth celebrating! Choose adorable clothing, a hat, or blanket for the holiday, and don’t forget to take LOTS of pictures and videos of your precious little turkey!
Celebrate Your Way
A big meal with your extended family might be off the table, but you should still mark the occasion with your favorite food. Choose a special meal to share with your partner and other children at home, or even at the hospital. It doesn’t have to be a turkey with all the trimmings. Thanksgiving is all about gathering with the people you love, so eat whatever makes you happy.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
It’s not always easy to be thankful in the NICU. Sometimes you have tough days or setbacks that leave you feeling anything but grateful! But writing down a few things that you’re thankful for each day in a journal (even the hard ones!) can lift your spirits and help you cultivate a positive attitude.
You are surrounded by amazing people who are taking great care of your family, and Thanksgiving is the PERFECT time to tell them how much you appreciate them. Write a note, bring some yummy treats, or just tell your NICU nurses how thankful you are for their hard work and caring.
Remember, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to look like a Norman Rockwell painting to be special. Don’t push yourself to make a picture-perfect holiday, simply focus on doing the things that make you feel good, spending time with the people you love, and celebrating your sweet baby’s amazing accomplishments!