Written by Nadine Bubeck, guest blogger
September is NICU Awareness Month. As I look at my thriving five-year-old first born, I can still vividly remember him arriving 6 weeks early after quite a rough pregnancy. He was born via C-section a perfect 4 pounds 11 ounces– my little doll. I thought I was going to break him, …but babies are resilient.
I’m very thankful our NICU stay didn’t exceed 7 nights- many babies spend weeks and months in the NICU. However, those seven nights did, in fact, take an emotional toll on me.
We’re all under the “social media perception” that pregnancy and birth is supposed to be perfect- just look at Facebook and Instagram…flawless pregnant bellies trace our feed. However, many of us have bumpy journeys to mommyhood; but I’ve learned firsthand: even a bumpy journey can be a beautiful experience.
I’m all about preserving memories, giving back, and honoring my initial crazy path to motherhood. Here are ways NICU families can pay tribute to their experience.
1. Wear it
I was so overcome with the magnitude of motherhood, that I founded Mama B. Designs, a boutique apparel company aimed at stylishly spreading prematurity awareness. I want to teach my boys to find and fulfill a passion, as well as pay it forward; hence, why I created inspirational, playful and meaningful tops with a mission in mind: buy a shirt, believe in miracles. 50% of each item from our Miracle Line benefits March of Dimes, the foundation that funds lifesaving research and programs working to end premature birth. Coupon code NICU10 for 10% off.
2. Snuggle it
Recently came across a mom-owned shop that preserves newborn swaddles and clothes- creating snuggly mementos like stuffed animals and pillows out of your beloved baby things. It’s called Stitches by Natalie, and her creations are a great way to “save” all your preemie stuff. I sent her one of Nicholas’ NICU swaddle blankets and a preemie onesie, and she made an adorable stuffed bear (out of the blanket!) wearing his onesie. She also stitched his name, birthday and birth stats on the teddy. Coupon code NICU10 for 10% off.
3. Remember it
As moms, we’re all about wearing our child’s name around our neck, whether it be a charm or bar necklace… but instead of a name or initial, consider getting your child’s unique footprint embedded on a 14K white gold, rose gold or yellow gold pendant. Matanai Jewelry makes every piece made to order- with your children’s hand or footprints on the front, and a small text on the back. It’s a lovely way to capture your child’s teeny tiny and super special prints, and wear them on your heart. If you don’t have clear photos of your baby’s footprints, they can send you a print kit. Coupon code NICU10 for 10% off.
4. Pay it forward
Join the Twenty-Five and Four movement. Created by a mom of a micro preemie, this non profit creates shirts that fit babies as small as one pound. Become a sewer and help make these sweetly sized shirts that comfortably wrap around wires for NICU babies. And the best part… theshirts are shipped for FREE to NICUs- you can even request them via their website! Put your free time to use, sew, and feel fulfilled knowing a little baby is being cutely clothed, thanks to you.
5. Educate yourself, and others
Woombie Med Pods are starting to be adopted at hospitals nationwide, and with your help spreading the word, more hospitals will learn they are available. The Pods are the first and only 360-degree swaddle that works around medical devices for hospitalized infants. The innovative designs allow for every neonate and infant to be swaddled as swaddling provides comfort, flexion, thermoregulation and promotes healthy attachment and improves psychosocial care. Woombie Med Pods hope to reduce trauma from hospitalization.