The Best Products for Your Premature Baby After the NICU

The Best Products for Your Premature Baby After the NICU

February 25, 2020

The Best Products for Your Premature Baby After the NICU

The Best Products for Your Premature Baby After the NICU

Parenting is filled with countless twists and turns. For some parents, the roller coaster starts on day one: a premature delivery.

Having a preemie brings its own unique set of needs to your parenting journey. It brings a unique set of baby gear, too; while a registry for a full-term baby and a premature one do have a lot in common, there are certain items that are especially useful when you’re bringing home your preemie.

Whether you’ve had a one-week NICU stay or have been calling it home for the last few months, these products are hand-picked to suit a preemie’s unique needs and will make the transition to your new normal a little bit easier.

Nursery

Preemies are often a bit tougher to soothe than full-term babies. This motorized bassinet features five unique motions and five different speeds as well as vibration, built-in white noise and a firm, flat sleep surface that’s safe for the littlest member of your family.

Smaller babies have a harder time maintaining their body temperature and often crave the feeling of being snug even more so than full-term infants. This two-in-one swaddle solves for both of these needs. It’s made from soft, warm micro-fleece and features easy-to-use Velcro wings that keep your little one feeling secure.

The constant beeping of NICU monitors is a sound engrained in every NICU parent’s brain. And although you probably won’t miss those noises once you’re at home with your little one, you may miss the peace of mind they provided. A monitor that tracks heart rate and oxygen saturation levels, like the Owlet, may help to ease those anxieties. Just keep in mind that it hasn’t been tested to prevent SIDS.

White noise is beneficial for all babies, but especially for premature infants who may already be used to the constant hum of NICU sounds or who need a bit of extra soothing. The Dohm is a tried-and-true favorite that’s been around since 1962 and emits a soothing sound of rushing air generated by a fan inside.

Many preemies struggle to gain weight, especially in the early months, which can be pretty nerve wracking for you as a parent. This changing pad features a built-in wireless scale so you can track baby’s weight gain (among other things) right from your smartphone. It also wipes clean—a feature we love.

Gear

Since preemies don’t weigh as much as full-term babies, you’ll need to make sure you purchase a car seat with a low enough weight limit to safely transport your little one home from the hospital. We spoke to a Child Passenger Safety Technician (aka a car seat expert) who recommended the Evenflo LiteMax. It’s approved for babies as tiny as three pounds and tends to get the best fit for preemies. (She also recommended the Clek Liing and Chicco Keyfit as two other preemie-friendly options.)

For reasons that continue to baffle us, strangers seem to love to reach out and touch new babies. While this isn’t a great idea with a full-term infant, it’s especially dangerous for a preemie, who’s more susceptible to sickness. This cover will keep everyone at a safe distance. And it can also be used as a nursing cover or a cover for a shopping cart or high chair.

Once you feel comfortable wearing your preemie in a carrier, the Solly Baby Wrap is a great choice. This lightweight wrap is incredibly soft and does a good job of distributing baby’s weight for a comfortable carry. You’ll be able to use it until your baby reaches 25 pounds.

There are over 350 maternity wards, NICUs and pediatric units across the United States that use the mamaRoo to comfort newborns, especially preemies. The motions of this swing mimic human movements and are all adjustable via a Bluetooth device or a tap of your toe.

Feeding

Preemies have smaller mouths and an immature suck, so even a slow-flow nipple is often too much for them to handle. This slowest-flow nipple is just right for tiny eaters. Pair it with Dr. Brown’s Options bottles, a good fit to help manage a premature infant’s immature digestive system thanks to their unique construction and anti-colic system.

Even if you’re planning to breastfeed or pump, you’ll want to have some formula on hand as it’s important to make sure your preemie is eating enough to maintain their blood sugar levels. These ready-to-drink bottles are especially convenient during those early weeks when you’re tired and your baby needs to eat frequently.

We’re normally not big proponents of bottle sterilizers (most times, a big pot and some boiling water does the trick), but since preemies’ immune systems aren’t fully developed, we think the extra cleaning step is worthwhile. We like this one for its affordability and ease of use. You may also want to check out Medela’s Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags and Quick Clean Wipes for cleaning and sterilizing on the go.

Many parents choose to pump for their premature baby due to challenges with breastfeeding or so they can more closely monitor baby’s milk intake. We recommend looking into renting a hospital-grade pump (the Medela Symphony is a popular choice, and the rental fees are often covered by insurance) for at least the first few months and then switching over to a more portable pump like the rechargeable Spectra.

If you are going to be pumping regularly for your preemie, a pumping bra can make the process a lot more convenient. This one from Kindred Bravely is one of our absolute favorites. Designed specifically for pumping parents, it’s an all-in-one bra that combines the best features of a nursing bra with those of a bra designed for pumping.

Working through breastfeeding challenges with a preemie can be painful for your nipples. This 100% organic nipple butter is ultra-soothing and not sticky whatsoever. It’s also great to use preventatively if you’re a pumping parent.

Positioning a tiny baby correctly for feeding can be tricky. This nursing pillow is our preemie pick thanks to its wrap-around design and firm yet supportive cushion. It’s great for breastfeeding and for bottle feeding, too.

Extra tiny tummies can be extra tough to soothe. Many preemie parents swear by gripe water, and Little Remedies is a popular pick. Just be sure to double check with your pediatrician before giving it to your baby.

Clothing & Accessories

Lots of brands advertise preemie sizing in their clothing, but many don’t deliver. Carter’s preemie clothes are truly sized to fit the tiniest of babies. Their selection of bodysuits, sleepers, gowns and caps are just right for smaller infants. (Other preemie-friendly brands we love include Target and Magnetic Me.)

This one’s more about clothing for you. Kangaroo care—the method of holding a baby skin-to-skin with a parent or caregiver—has so many benefits for both your premature baby and for you. This shirt makes it easy with a snug, supportive pocket for baby built right in.

Keep those tiny toes warm and cozy with booties that actually stay on. (Really.) These don’t come in preemie sizes, so they’ll probably be a bit large in the beginning, but they’re worth holding onto until baby grows into them because they’ll get a ton of use.

Health & Safety

Swaddlers are one of our top diaper picks for full-term babies, and the brand’s preemie-sized option is just as great. The soft design is perfect for sensitive new skin and the diapers are absorbent enough to tackle even big messes.

Does the thought of your tiny preemie in a giant tub give you a pit at the bottom of your stomach? We get it—and that’s why we recommend sink baths instead. The Puj tub lets you bathe your little one right in the smaller confines of your sink and snugly cradles their body in a reclined position. Just remember to check the dimensions of your sink before buying to make sure it fits.

Stationing a bottle of this hand sanitizer at your front door for visitors and next to your changing area is a good strategy for keeping your preemie free from germs. This one’s free of alcohol, so it’s gentler on skin.

If your little one does get sick, you’ll want a quick and reliable way of taking their temperature. This digital thermometer works orally, under the arm or rectally and links to your phone, so you can record any fevers for your doctor and receive guidance on what to do next via the app.

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