While most new parents don’t expect to have a small baby, 1 in 10 parents every year will find themselves leaving the hospital with a baby that weighs less than 5 pounds. Parents of multiples might have the advantage of knowing this possibility ahead of time, so they can plan on having a smaller baby since their typical gestational age is less than the standard 37 weeks. Whether you have time to plan or suddenly need to order items when you find yourself in the NICU, there are a five items that you want to ensure you have before it is time to bring your preemie home.
A car seat that has a starting weight of 4 pounds. Before new parents are allowed to leave the hospital with a preemie baby the hospital may require that the baby pass a car seat test, and the baby needs to have an appropriate fitting car seat. Remember to use nothing else in or with the seat that is not manufactured by that car seat manufacturer to ensure it works correctly. Check out the Cybex Aton2 (below) or the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 for seats starting at 4 pounds that are easy to use and are loaded with safety features.
Hatch Baby Grow Smart Changing Pad. Between heading to the doctor for weight checks with your preemie, you may want to do some weight checks of your own. The Hatch Smart Changing Pad combines a traditional changing pad with a built-in wireless scale. The pad connects to an app that allows you to track your baby’s progress for your extra peace of mind.
A good electric breast pump. Your preemie might not be able to breastfeed right away, but you can start pumping and storing your milk. If available, take advantage of the hospital-grade pump in the NICU since they have the highest sucking rhythm. If one isn’t available, check out the Medela Pump in Style Advanced and its 2-phase expression technology that will help you pump more milk in less time.
The right swaddle. Babies almost universally love to be swaddled, but preemies love it even more since they are still developing and it eases the transition from early departure from the womb. Preemie babies are calmed by a secure swaddle and, as a bonus, it helps them insulate their temperature. Look for a swaddle that is made of high-quality fabrics and is easy to use and adjust as baby grows such as the Ollie Swaddle.
Nuroo Pocket Shirt. Research has shown that skin-to-skin contact, or Kangaroo Care, has many benefits to babies such as accelerating brain development, regulating body temperature and reducing stress, which are all important for a premature baby. The Nuroo Pocket shirt was developed to be used from birth and goes on like a shirt. This carrier will grow with your baby’s changing body, and the moisture-wicking fabric will keep you both comfy.
Did you bring a preemie home? Any gear that we are missing that you think is essential?