Being a new mother who can’t take her baby home, or who might not even be able to hold her newborn, is harder than most of us can imagine.
Add on top of that a global pandemic and, well, it’s harder than any mother should have to endure.
So please be sure to shower NICU mamas with lots of love - they really need & deserve it!
If nothing else, reach out and let those new moms know you’re thinking of them with a text or a phone call.
If you’re going to buy a Mother’s Day gift, keep in mind that not all gifts are appropriate for NICU moms. Some traditional items, like baby clothes and stuffed animals, are upsetting because they can’t be used right away and just remind these unique new mamas of the struggle they’re in. But these gifts I’m sharing with you today are thoughtful and appropriate for NICU moms.
So don't let this year pass by without treating NICU moms to a fantastic Mother's Day!
I’ve tried my best to only link to products that are actually currently available during this unique pandemic time.
And for NICU nurses wanting to do a little something sweet for the mamas in your care, I’ve added my favorite NICU-Nurse ideas at the bottom.
GIFTS FROM FAMILY & FRIENDS
If you have a little money to spend and you're looking for an appropriate gift for a NICU mom, here are some super ideas that are sure to show you care and understand.
Inexpensive voice recorder
NICU parents rarely think of this, but it's a fantastic way for babies to keep hearing their mother's (and father's) voice even when parents can’t be right beside them.
Moms can record themselves reading books to their babies, telling them stories, singing them songs, or just telling them how much they love them. Then the nurses can play the recordings when mom is away.
But most moms won't take the time to order a voice recorder, so you can do it for her!
Care Package of voice recorder & books
Why not take it a step further and make a sweet care package of one voice recorder bundled with several great read-aloud baby books? This will truly surprise any NICU mom and delight her, because it gives her a way to bond with her baby which is super important during the NICU. There are SO many amazing books I love for reading in the NICU - you'll have to check out my 75 favorite books to read to NICU babies!
NICU-Specific Care Packages
Take all the guess work out of your gift buying! We have interviewed countless NICU families, and based on their feedback we’ve created three different sizes of NICU-specific care packages, each filled with the products NICU mothers actually cherish! Every care package includes our best-selling Our NICU Journey Journal, a deck of NICU Milestone Cards and a set of NICU Crib art.
For more deluxe gifts, our “Delivering Joy” care package includes snacks, a NICU Family poster with a deluxe pen, a sweet cotton NICU tote bag and more.
For the most generous care package, our Extra Large “Hope & Joy” bundle upgrades to a hardcover journal and our larger NICU poster, and also adds nourishing skin care products from All Good and a high quality double-walled water bottle to keep mama hydrated in a NICU-approved way.
Bundle of gift cards
The NICU is expensive, in many ways. So moms really appreciate gift cards for the everyday things - groceries, gas, coffee, and meals. Why not package a few of these with a nice Mother's Day card? She'll love it!
Cloth Face Mask
If mama doesn’t yet have a comfortable face mask, now’s the perfect time to give her one!
Even though she may be supplied with masks at the NICU, she’ll also appreciate having one for any trips out of the house, to keep herself and her little one safe.
A shadow box is a wonderful way for mothers to display the precious keepsakes from their days in the NICU - tiny baby hats, tiny blood pressure cuffs, hospital bracelets, itty bitty diapers, and more. It's something moms will thank you for!
Hands-free pumping bra
Now, you'll have to be a pretty good friend to feel comfortable buying this for your NICU mom pal, but will you be her BEST friend if you give her this gift. If she doesn't have one already, and if she's pumping for her baby in the NICU, I can just about guarantee she will adore this! I have yet to meet a pumping mom who wasn't thrilled to finally have a hands-free bra! Just think about it - pumping every 3 hours EVERY DAY, and without a bra like this, you can't do a single thing but sit there and feel annoyed at the whole situation! She'll love it...
If the NICU mom in your life is a reader, I'd like to suggest that you surprise her with one or two books she may not know about, but will definitely love.
Whether you choose a memoir to help mama feel less alone, or a preemie care book to guide them through their experience, the reader mom will appreciate the fact that you’re honoring her unique journey.
Below are some of my favorites, and I've reviewed most of them here on my blog.
Click any book image below to learn more!
Want more book ideas? Check out this list of my favorite Children's Books specifically for preemies & NICU babies - they'll be great for mom to read to her little one.
Yes, NICU mothers adore jewelry (if they're jewelry types) particularly if the jewelry specifically reminds them of their little one, if it helps her feel connected during the times they're apart.
Customized charm necklaces are my all-time favorites, because they’re so personal and thoughtful. I also love meditation & prayer beads for the moms who are open to it, because they can be very calming and comforting.
Why not treat her to a much-deserved indulgence? These might help her relax and unwind from the overwhelming stress she's going through. This foot massager, foot spa or neck massager (all of them would be great to use while pumping!) - anything that indulges and encourages self-care - would make a great Mother's Day gift.
NICU Crib Art
We here at Every Tiny Thing have created a sweet and inexpensive (<$20) way to bring some joy to the NICU, and they’re perfectly safe during these pandemic times.
Laminated NICU-specific quotes and prints are something many moms don't know about, but absolutely love when they have them. They are sanitizable which makes them ideal for any NICU (we are ALWAYS sanitizing everything, not just during pandemics) and there are many styles to choose from, so you're sure to find just the right design for your NICU mama.
Either a nice bag for mom to bring all her snacks & water bottles and books with her to the NICU, or a cheerful cooler tote to deliver pumped breast milk, will make a very thoughtful and useful gift.
(In fact, moms love totes so much that we’ve included one in our NICU care packages!)
Wishing Ball & Gratitude Globe
"A piggybank for wishes, dreams, blessings, and thank you's"
Now this is a really unique and very uplifting gift idea for NICU moms. The idea is this - write down your hopes & dreams, and the things you're grateful for, and tuck them inside this beautiful hand-blown globe. It's a way to focus on the positives, which is something every NICU mom can use a little help with.
You can find them in several colors here.
How about this adorable set of T-shirts, for NICU moms with babies big enough to wear newborn size onesies?
*I can only recommend this gift for those moms who have babies that can wear clothes. If the baby can’t wear the onesie right now, it’ll just be more upsetting than it’s worth. But if the baby is wearing onesies, go for it!
It's the traditional Mother's Day gift, which makes it particularly wonderful for NICU moms. Why? Because when nothing else feels normal or traditional about their newborn experiences, a thoughtful ordinary Mother's Day gift such as flowers may mean the world to her. It can say "Yes, we honor you as a mother during this time when it might feel particularly difficlut to be a mother." Which is awesome.
And yes, EVEN during these crazy pandemic times you can order flowers on Amazon!
GIFTS FROM THE NICU STAFF
It's wonderful for nurses and staff to surprise moms with something sweet for Mother's Day, but the gifts often have to be no-cost or low-cost. Here are a few ideas that NICU moms are sure to love:
Free printable cards, Photo Cards & poems from baby
It's always fun to make a simple card that's "from the baby" for moms.
If you want it quick & easy, I've created a few printable cards here that you're free to copy and use. Two cards per standard 8.5x11 paper. Click here to see all of the print-ready images to download and use.
The circles are meant to be cut out and placed next to baby for a photograph, and obviously the footprint cards are blank, so you can put each baby's footprints on them. The others are simply cards you can sign from the baby and have sitting in the crib or at the bedside for when mom arrives.
Or, you can find tons of ideas on Pinterest, so create your own!
I think this could be a fun one for the NICU nurses & staff - why not have a single helium balloon for each mother who visits on Mother's Day? It's a traditional, "typical" Mother's Day gift which may help NICU moms feel festive and normal, which is a beautiful gift! (Non-latex, of course, if that's your hospital policy)
Find a local musician to play music
This may not be possible during the pandemic, with heavy restrictions on visitors, but it’s worth mentioning….
Some NICU's are fortunate enough to have harp or violin players who volunteer their time to play soothing, calming music for the babies, parents and staff. If your NICU does this already, I bet you have it all set up for them to play on Mother's Day.
If you don't have this, why not ask around and find out if you can do it? First check with administration, and then locate your musician(s) - harps, violins, even quiet acapella groups serenading mothers as they arrive could be sweet. You know it would amaze and delight mothers to have such a treat on their special day.
Host a Mother's Day brunch at the hospital for all YOUR NICU moms
Many families celebrate Mother's Day with a traditional brunch, but it's pretty hard to feel like celebrating without your baby safe & home. And honestly, many NICU moms feel as if nobody else truly understands what they're going through.
So why not facilitate a brunch for all the current NICU moms to enjoy? Find a room in your hospital that's available, and make it happen! Whether you ask everyone to bring food in for a potluck, or you convince the hospital to provide some complimentary snacks (think of the great PR!) - it'll be a brunch those moms will absolutely remember! You can keep it totally simple, or go all out with balloons and flowers, music and more!
Give vouchers for meals at the hospital cafeteria as a gift
Whether your hospital volunteers buy the vouchers, or maybe the hospital donates them, it's an inexpensive gift the hospital can give that the parents will really appreciate!
Arrange for a professional photographer to take photos
Why not ask the hospital newborn photographer to do complimentary NICU sessions on Mother's Day? Or, you may be able to find a local newborn photographer who will do a photo session for all the moms at a reasonable price (IF they’ll be allowed to enter the facility these days…) It's worth looking into, because -wow, will it make your moms delighted!
It's not too expensive to print T-shirts - why not print T-shirts for every mom? You can buy printable iron-on fabric, or you can order T-shirts online pretty easily from printers such as this and this. What should the T-shirt say? How about:
World's Greatest NICU Mom!
I'm a NICU Mom - What's your Super Power?
Mother's Day, 2017 - Along with the name of your NICU and your hospital logo
'Sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your heart (AA Milne)' - Mother's Day 2017
Or have some fun and tie-dye T-shirts so every mom can have a matching shirt - it doesn't even need to be printed with words!
Here’s a tutorial on how to make a heart-shaped tie-dye shirt!
Time & listening
It's the simplest thing, but make a point of sitting down with your patient's mother and really asking how she's doing. Listen to her.
Most moms say that having a good connection with the nurse caring for her baby is just about the best gift in the world, so on this day especially, give her that gift.
I'm sure I could go on and on, but I hope you get the idea- YES, treat NICU moms to a wonderful Mother's Day, YES, there are gifts in every price range to show her you care! What would YOU add?
Photos by Jessica Strom shared with permission. Affiliate Links included.