This Premature Baby Gift Buyer's Guide has been written by our Founder Gillian who has over 13 years experience as a Neonatal Nurse. She's also written examples of what to write in a card for parents of a premature baby, and designed cards especially for these parents.

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Should I even be buying a gift for a premature baby?

Yes! You most definitely should send a card and gift to someone who's had a premature baby!

Too often well-meaning friends and family delay getting anything for parents of a premature baby 'just in case', but these parents need support and messages of love even more than most.

In my time on the neonatal wards I've seen healthier babies and their parents surrounded by new baby cards and gifts, while babies in the NICU and SCBU have received very little and it's heartbreaking.

With so much specialist premature baby clothing and gifts now available - including cards for parents of a premature baby - it's not hard to find a great gift.

Are clothes an appropriate gift for a very premature baby?

Are clothes an appropriate gift for a very premature baby?

Yes! Every new parent dreams of their baby's first outfit and that includes parents of a baby on the NICU/SCBU in hospital.

What's more, a premature birth is often not planned and the clothes the parents have already bought are for a full-term baby. They don't have clothes that will fit, so getting them right-sized clothes can really help them out.

Sometimes hospitals will stock basic ranges of hospital baby clothes and these clothes do a good job, but not every parent wants their baby in basic pink or blue clothing that's been worn by another premature baby before, and although they're grateful for hand-me-downs they also want something special too.

* Some hospitals will restrict what clothes are worn and when, but even the gesture of buying a little outfit will be gratefully appreciated, and parents often keep these clothes as a keepsake.

I do want to buy clothes, but what should I buy?

I do want to buy clothes, but what should I buy?

A very premature baby in hospital will be either on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or the Specialist Baby Care Unit (SBCU). The smallest babies will be in an incubator and any baby in the NICU or SCBU will be connected to lines and wires to monitor them or provide support with breathing or feeding.

With this in mind clothing for a premature baby must allow for easy dressing around these items, so a wrap-around design is most practical, preferably wrap-around clothing that adjustable as baby grows.

A baby in an incubator is obviously being kept warm, so often an incubator vest is all that's needed in addition to a nappy. But when baby gets a little bigger and comes out for cuddles (kangaroo care) a hat  can be worn, and then sleepsuits, bodysuits, dungarees, etc. Specialist stay-on scratch mitts and booties are recommended too.

Choose baby clothing that has these features:

Wrap-around style for easy dressing that minimises disturbing baby.

100% cotton - ideally organic - which is soft and breathable, ideal for sensitive skin.

Make sure it's the right size. Clothes labelled 'premature' are often too big.

Anti-scratch mitts and booties should fit and also have 'stay-on' design features.

A premature baby octopus comforter

We discuss the benefits of a premature baby octopus in this article. Research has proven they can help comfort a premature baby and they are an excellent gift.

Read article and shop for octopus

2 x toys or rattles

This means that the baby can have a toy next to the bed, and the family can have a matching one, which when they have to leave the baby they can take with them to make them feel closer to the baby.

Shop toys

Milestone cards for a premature baby

Milestone cards have become increasing popular in recent years; they're a really cute way of documenting a baby's important events in your photo album or on social media.

We feel that a premature baby in the NICU and SCBU has even more milestones to celebrate, so these would be a really thoughtful gift.

That's why we designed our own range of premature baby milestone cards, with milestones like 'Kangaroo care time", "Today was my due date" and "Today I'm completely tube free".

For each set of milestone cards sold we donate £2 to the premature baby charity Tommy's.

Shop premature baby milestone cards

Specialist premature baby mittens, socks & booties

We stock tiny stay-on scratch mitts with velcro ties that are excellent at keeping little fingers from pulling on things they shouldn't. These are tried and tested and actually work; which often isn't the case with other 'stay-on' scratch mitts.

They are even proven to reduce extubation which can be a problem with babies in the NICU/SCBU in hospital.

Tiny stay-on booties and socks are also a really practical gift, especially if baby is out of the incubator and will be going home during colder months.

Shop baby booties and socks

Snuggle blanket or comforter

A little blanket or comforter can be given to baby, then the mum can take it with them so the gorgeous new baby smell can help with expressing. There is a lot of science behind this, go on have a Google!!

Shop comforters

Muslin swaddle blankets

A muslin swaddle blanket is a must-have for any parent. In fact we recommend having several muslin blankets!

These helpful muslin clothes are large enough to cover the incubator to stop excess light coming in, to be used as bed sheets to brighten up the incubator and to cover the babies when they come out for a cuddle.

They are also ace for a cover up when breastfeeding. (Not that we are saying you need to cover up, some mums may just want a bit of cover in the busy NICU!).

Shop swaddle blankets

Blankets

Even though it may be a while until they come out for a cuddle, it will be nice for them to have a super soft blanket ready to keep them warm. We even have blankets infused with silver, well known for its antimicrobial properties.

Shop blankets

What should I write in a 'congrats' card?

You may be wondering if it is insensitive to send a congratulations card when baby is poorly in hospital, or would like some advice on what to write.

In this article we show you what parents of premature babies say (and yes they want to receive cards!), and give you advice on what to write in a card.

WHAT TO WRITE IN A PREMATURE BABY CARD

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