Christmas in the NICU is hard.
So if you're wondering "what would be an awesome gift for a mom with a baby in the NICU?" here's your answer!
We are on a mission to make the NICU easier and more joyful for NICU families.
When NICU moms and dads receive wonderful & thoughtful gifts, it absolutely helps them feel a little more joyful.
So we want to help YOU find the perfect gift this holiday season!
But one thing is certain - finding an appropriate and comforting gift for a mom with a baby in the NICU can be difficult.
So when in doubt, either ask a NICU mom directly what she'd like, or consider some of these items that NICU moms have told us are their favorites. (I've gone into greater detail at the end of the article about why some gifts have the potential to be upsetting)
Shop with confidence for NICU moms
These gifts will show her that you want to pamper her, you appreciate the struggle she's going through, and you want to give her something that will be comforting right now.
Shop for any of these on Amazon today.
Best Gifts to Encourage Self Care
Indulgent Foot Spas
Something to pamper mom, something to indulge in a small moment of self-care makes a super Christmas gift. A foot spa can be a nice way to make NICU-pumping something to look forward to instead of dreading. See some top-rated foot spas on Amazon.
You can also look for neck massagers and hand massagers too - whatever you think she'll love most.
Price: Starts at $15 to over $100
Gifts to help sleep
Anything that encourages good sleep - like a comfy cotton nightshirt, an eye mask for naptime, or even a white noise machine - is sure to help a mama who is probably struggling to sleep well.
Best for pumping NICU Moms
Hands-free pumping bras
If the NICU mom you know is pumping for her baby, she ABSOLUTELY should have a hands-free pumping bra - several actually! Because it sucks (pun totally intended) to pump all day every day, and at least a mom should be comfortable. Here are some great nursing / pumping bras on Amazon.
Price: Starts at $19.99 to around $50
Best for the Involved NICU Moms
NICU-specific gifts are ideal for the moms who are very involved, actively participating with the NICU. Or for those moms who need a little encouragement to get started getting comfortable in the NICU.
A journal to write in is a powerful tool that helps moms keep track of all the overwhelming information going on in her baby's life. We think ours is the best (and with over 15,000 sold others must think so too) You can buy our journals on Amazon or here on our website.
Price: $14 - $26.50
NICU Care Packages
Another gift that we really believe your NICU mum is gonna love is our NICU Care Package. Our team has curated the very best items that are 100% designed for the NICU and they're beautifully packaged. We have small and large available, which you can find on Amazon or here on our website.
Price: $50 - $150
Best under $20
If your NICU mom needs to wear masks while in the NICU
A headband with buttons allows a mom to relieve some of the ear pressure from mask-wearing every day. It's a simple thoughtful way to show that you understand.
Best Sentimental Gift
Most moms love having anything beautiful with their baby's name on it, and a custom necklace like this one makes a lovely & thoughtful gift. There are so many available, but this is one of my favorites on Amazon right now.
Best for Mom-Baby Bonding
Read-Aloud Baby Books
It's wonderful to read to a baby in the NICU! Whether a baby is a teeny preemie in an incubator or a big full term baby, that baby will love hearing their favorite voice- their mama's. This book is a favorite at the NICU where I work, and you can see it on Amazon. Or if you want a bunch more ideas about books that are great for reading aloud to a baby in the NICU check out this post: 75 Wonderful Read-Aloud Books for Babies in the NICU.
Still can't decide what's best?
When you're feeling unsure about what to get, don't give up - just give something that everyone can use!
When in doubt, let your loved one shop for herself by giving her a gift card. You can very easily order Amazon and Starbucks gift cards, Apple, Sephora, Lowes, Bath & Body Works gift cards, even Safeway gift cards (because sometimes the gift of groceries is the best thing ever).
Lastly, you could give a really incredible gift of Amazon Prime to a new NICU mom - it can make her life easier in so many ways.
NICU Mom Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Here are a few ideas for smaller gifts sure to make her smile.
Here's a favorite hand cream - hand washing in the NICU is no joke and leads to painfully dry hands!
Here's another set of hand care products from Burts Bees that we love.
These are awesome breath mints - sitting in the NICU for hours can be freshened up with a lovely mint.
Have you tried shower steamers before? They're a quick pick-me-up and a great stocking stuffer for someone who needs some self-care.
Some gifts are upsetting to NICU parents
Finally, a little bit more information about why some gifts - while well-intentioned - can be upsetting to NICU families:
So many things about having a baby in the NICU are hard. Getting a gift shouldn't be one of them. But, sometimes gifts actually add to their stress and their feelings of nobody understanding their situation.
For example, had you thought about this:
Adorable baby clothes can be upsetting.
Why? Many NICU babies can't wear clothes from home and some moms worry their baby will never grow big enough to fit into them. Even preemie-sized outfits can be too big. Many babies are too sick or too small to go through the stress of being dressed.
Stuffed animals can be upsetting.
Why? They are often not allowed in the ultra-clean environment of the NICU. Getting a gift that can't be used with the baby right now can make moms feel like they're not understood.
Traditional baby items - like "normal" baby diaries or "normal" baby calendars - can be upsetting.
Why? They can make moms feel even sadder that their experience isn't "normal" - in fact their experience is scary and hard and sad. Those "normal" baby items can just make her feel even more misunderstood and alone.
Any gifts for use when baby is older can be upsetting (ie baby rattles, toys, bibs, etc)
Why? Even if the baby's health is very stable, NICU parents worry. Even if the doctors and nurses say the baby is doing well, NICU moms sometimes fear that their baby will not make it home. It may seem irrational to you or others, but any mom who has seen her little baby hooked up to monitors and stuck in the NICU very likely has had that fear. So toys for later just don't show that you understand the current struggle.
The list goes on and on.
So my suggestion is to buy something you know for sure the mother can use right now, something that will encourage self-care or help as a tool to use in the NICU.
Send us a note if you have any suggestions for what you would add to this list!
This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Every Tiny Thing may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content, which help support the team who researches and shares these NICU ideas with you. Thanks for your support!