Saturday, October 29, 2011

Coming Home from the NICU - essentials

For those of you who are preparing to bring your little one home from your long NICU stay I thought I would share what supplies and baby items we had waiting at home, and what I would do slightly different in hind sight.

The normal baby essentials:
  • 6-8 receiving blankets
  • 1-2 warmer blankets
  • 6 burp cloths, I used a package of cotton cloth diapers which worked great
  • Plenty of diapers and wipes- we purchased cloth diapers and covers
  • 8-10 newborn size gowns and one piece comfy outfits
  • onesies
  • socks
  • hats- depending on the season
  • infant car seat 
  • place for baby to sleep
  • place to change baby - a bed works fine too!

For a preemie:
  • Preemie size diapers depending on your little one's weight - Gwendolyn came home at 4lb 9oz /17 in.
  • a few preemie size outfits up to 6 lbs - I only had 5-6 and this was enough
  • a foam wedge to raise head when sleeping - I cut a crib size one in half to use in 2 places
  • a car mirror (this was essential for me since Gwendolyn was on oxygen and a feeding tube)
  • a night set-up next to sleeping area; soft light, diapers, wipes, feeding supplies, etc...
  • A double portable breast pump - my favorite is the Medela freestyle and it worked just as good as the hospital grade Medela's I had been using. I pumped for 13 months.
  • /
  • A place for baby to sleep - with a 45 degree wedge
  • a sound machine or sound CD - one I recommend is below in the amazon link
  • A stroller and car seat combo - for those long visits to the Doctors
  • An infant car seat with a good insert for supporting the head and body
We had originally planned on sleeping close to our baby and this decision only intensified after having a preemie. I could not imagine having Eleonora sleep in another room at night especially with all of her medical equipment. How we actually made this work will be coming soon... with details.

And a good carrier to wear your little one:

Instead of my ring-type sling (which I did love) I would purchase one with a bit of shoulder padding. The Maya Wrap sling is a good quality choice
available from Amazon as well

Looking back I wish I had a knit wrap-type carrier like the following:
 The Snuggly Wrap (similar to the Moby and Sleepy Wraps)

I had a Didymos guaze wrap-type carrier that took some work to put on when she was little but I did use it quite a bit that first winter home - especially when walking to her doctor appointments in the cold.
available on Amazon

When Eleonora got to be about 15 lbs I started using the Ergo Baby carrier and this has been a purchase well worth the cost. We have loved it and still use it at 27 lbs.
/ - I purchased mine from
there is also an infant insert available on

These are the basics of what we had ready and ended up using - along with all of the medical equipment and oxygen we needed to have.
I am somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to baby items and what worked for me may not at all be what is right for you of course!

I would love to hear what you considered essential in those first weeks with your preemie at home.



  1. Sarah,
    What a great blog idea this is. Just reading yesterday's post caused me to remember those days of bringing meals to Philipp while you were living apart. Have you heard that Jennifer Lightfoot Fountain had triplets the 1st of Oct. One boy - Noah and two girls - McKenna and Emma. They each weighed about 3.5 lbs. Noah came home the end of last week, but the girls will most likely come home on Tuesday. They have been in NICU at Florida Hospital South.
    I'll be sure to let her know about your blog, but she'll have to do everything times 3. Yikes!
    Tell Philipp hi, from the Walters.
    Debi (and Tom)

  2. Hi Debi, Yes, I heard about Jennifer - so exciting for them. What blessings! Thank you for your encouragement and support during our long NICU stay. Blessings, Sarah

  3. Hi! Just found your blog from your post! I'm in your area. :o) We use the Maya Wrap (which I sell locally) and it's especially great with 2 in tow.