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Create the perfect care package for NICU parents and their little tiny miracle. Learn all what you need to know about skin care for premature babies and important advice for NICU parents.
Because I've had two preemies before Malakai I kind of knew what to expect when it came to his care. However, because his skin was so much thinner and more delicate than the others, we had to really consider what exactly was going on his skin and what the ingredients were. JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo was really the best thing we were able to find that didn't have any contraindications.I chose JOHNSON’S® because of the formulation of their products. They are 100% gentle, and free of parabens, and phthalates. They're also dye free, sulfate free, worry free. They have a new formulation for all of their products and have released a new JOHNSON’S® COTTONTOUCH™ Newborn Wash & Shampoo that is perfect for Malakai now and I'm sure perfect when he was just a preemie because,“The Brand You Trust, Now More Gentle Than Ever” and it is the #1 choice of hospitals.
What is a swaddle bath?
Our NICU used it on all the babies and we were able to do swaddle baths with Malakai which were great because he is so small. A swaddle bath is when you fill your tub of warm water, then you put some fleece fabric or blanket, then the baby and then you wrap the baby up in the swaddle so that they retain their heat. We continued to do these for Malakai until he was 6-7 months and when he stayed warm, he enjoyed his bath times more. This is my daughter Leila when we would do swaddle baths for her in 2010.
Is skin-to-skin for preemies worth it?
To this question, it's always yes. It's important to do it when the baby is born but when you have a premature baby, sometimes you can only do it a bit at a time. When we had Leila in 2010, the most they'd let us do is an hour at a time until she was stronger.
For Malakai, it was a different story. I didn't get to hold him for 10 days. We'd watch his monitor and his ventilator settings to make sure he wasn't getting too stimulated. We were able to hold him as long as he'd tolerate it. Some days it'd be the full 3 hours before his next cares, some days it was 20 minutes. That's why I feel a swaddle bath is always best for premature or even term newborns so that they get the sensation of warmth and comfort that we provide to them during skin-to-skin.
How do I take care of myself while my child is in the NICU?
First, your child is in the best place possible. Sometimes that is hard to realize because we are their parents and we know what to do. However, these nurses are dedicated to their work and also can be traumatized from having to deal with other premature infants.
I suffer from PTSD even three years later and a lot of therapy. There are times when I often have to close my eyes and take deep breaths and continue to remind myself that part of his life is over. The hospital still gives me anxiety with all the monitors and bells, I get very agitated and again have to do breathing exercises. I'm not sure when it will go away but I know a way I can help myself is to be sure to take care of myself and do other things besides sit in the hospital all day.
Movies, pampering, sleep, shopping, and other extra-curricular activities were so important to me as a mother because if I was taken care of, my child was properly taken care of. I wasn't as overwhelmed by his cares and all the extras I needed to know because my mind was cleared and I was more attentive.
What should I include in a care package for NICU parents?
Be sure to include items for the parents and items that they'll need for when the baby comes home. Remembering the parents and the baby are what is most important but also practicality has to come into play as well. Some of my best ideas are:
- Gas Gift Cards
- Coffee Gift Cards
- Movie Tickets
- Heating Pads
- Facial Masks
- Sleep Masks
- Nail Polish
- Water Bottle
- Walgreens Gift Card
- Fleece Material
- Baby Bath
- JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo
- New! JOHNSON’S® COTTONTOUCH™ Newborn Wash & Shampoo
Head to your local Walgreens and grab those for your friends or family whose child is in the NICU. I love going to Walgreens because I know it's always open. There were many times where we would have to run grab something for Malakai and it was never a question of where we'd go. I know that their pharmacy is reliable in providing me the medications that he needed for so long after his birth. I remember us having to go to the Emergency Room in the middle of the night and the doctor sent us home a prescription. I knew that they were the only ones able to fill it for us.
We've come a long way in our progress for all three of my premature children but especially Malakai. I wouldn't have been able to give him the love and attention he needed if it weren't for the generosity of others.
So tell me, what do you think would be a great addition to a care package for NICU parents? Head to your local Walgreens and create your own care package for NICU parents. #TrustInGentle