When Can I Dress My Premature Baby? | NICU Advice For Parents

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When can I dress my premature baby?

Micropremmies will have very delicate skin, so it may take weeks for them to be ready to wear any clothes. Your baby will need to grown big and strong enough to maintain their own temperature and become well enough to wear clothes you have lovingly picked for them.

Although your baby might not yet be out of the incubator and wire-free, it doesn’t mean that they can’t wear clothes and the day that your premature baby can finally wear clothes in the NICU is a huge milestone! It's always best to check with the nurses looking after your premature baby, that they are ready to be dressed, and to ask them to help the first time. This article gives advice on suitable clothes for a premature baby, depending on the stage it is at in its journey.

Clothing whilst baby is in an incubator

Before your baby is ready to be brought out of the incubator and into a cot, a lot of nurses like to trial them in little items of clothing, and turn the incubator right down - this give us an understanding of how baby is at maintaining their own temperature.

It is important that the clothes you pick won’t interfere with the lines that baby still has - which is what makes the incubator vests so special - they enable baby to be dressed with minimal disturbance, and are made of the highest quality material, they will be delicate on baby’s newborn skin. 

Little Mouse stock plenty of fashionable, practical incubator vests which are perfect as a starting point for your baby’s wardrobe.

Hats and blankets for kangaroo care

As well as vests, hats are very important in the NICU - a baby’s head is a large surface area, and loses a lot of heat very quickly. Although baby may not always wear a hat in the incubator, it is important that you have a stock of hats, especially for kangaroo care, so your body can keep baby warm, and the hat can stop the heat from escaping.

We love the Cactus Incubatory Vest and hat set (£15.95), not only is it gender-neutral, but so stylish and will really make your baby stand out in the NICU. Because the vests are made without uncomfortable seams, you can be sure they will be delicate on premature baby skin. As well as being easy to get on and off baby ,so you don’t have to bend their arms this way and that to get them into the thing!! As well as hats being important for kangaroo care, a blanket is important to keep you and your baby wrapped up, and we love the Cellular Blanket (£21.95). Keep it in baby’s drawers under the incubator and have it on-hand for all those cuddles!

Incubator vests and hats


Mama Designs cellular blankets


The importance of anti-scratch & extubation mittens

Anyone who has a premature baby will know how much they like pulling at their wires - whether its whipping out their NG tube, or hanging onto their longline. The nurses will often try and make up a pair of scratch mitts, but there is no reason that you can't provide your own.

The Prem Stay-On Scratch Mittens (£10.99) have been clinically tested, and proven to reduce the rate of accidental extubation in the NICU. They have a two-part close system, which means they can grow as baby does. We recommend not having them on too tight, chasing their position regularly, and giving baby’s hand a clean and a massage when they are not on - it is important for baby to have skin-contact, as well as being kept safe from pulling out essential wires. 

Stay on scratch mittens


Regular baby clothes in smaller sizes

If baby is big enough it doesn't require specialist incubator clothings, but is smaller than expected and doesn’t fit in the newborn clothes you had bought ready for their arrival, Little Mouse has plenty of stylish pieces which will brighten up the NICU. We particularly love the Star Print Sleep Suit (£15.95), which comes in 3 sizes - ask your nurse to convert baby’s weight into pounds and you should be able to order a perfect fit.

It is important that baby clothes are snug, rather than too big and baggy, to help them maintain their own body temperature. Also, a baby grow without feet means its easier to change probes over without completely undressing your little mouse every time. 

Little Mouse has clothing ranges for babies weighing 3lb-5lb and 4lb-7lb as well as their micropreemie range (1lb-3lb).

Tiny baby size clothes


Dressing your baby is psychologically important for mum and dad as well as baby's well-being

Very often, families feel like their premature baby doesn’t “belong” to them. By being able to dress your baby in outfits that you have picked, you can claim a little bit more of parenthood back from the medicalisation you go through on the NICU.Remember to check with your nurse if baby is ready to be dressed before doing so, and also ask them if you can be present when the time is right - there is nothing more special that seeing your baby start to look like a “proper” little person.  

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