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How to support families in NICU during holidays

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
How could a group from the community support families in the NICU during the holidays? Any ideas?
post #2 of 15
I would just flat out ask mom what she needs. Especially if the family has other children, they probably have a multitude of errands and chores that need to be done that they can't get around to.
post #3 of 15
Hi again! (I just responded to your post on my thread about bedrest).

My 34-weeker was born on Christmas morning. We were given a Christmas blanket and some Santa hats that ladies in the community had sewn/knitted for the NICU babies, and they meant a lot. My son is about to be 2 and he still sleeps with his NICU Christmas blankie. (The hat no longer fits, of course!)

The baby next to my son (26-weeker) was the 7th child of a welfare mom and when we left, we left her a bag of clothes and a Target gift card. I would bet depending on the hospital (ours was a large regional inner-city trauma center), there would be lots of families that would just have basic needs, especially for siblings at home and so forth.

Also a little extended family education... my in-laws pressured me to come home from the hospital early and have Christmas dinner (I came home on the 26th even though I could have stayed until the 27th), and when I was sitting at the dinner table, after dinner, I excused myself to lie down on the couch, and my mil said "feeling antisocial, are you?" No, how about feeling the stitches from the tear in my vagina! I did just give birth yesterday!! Ah well, I guess a community group couldn't help much there...

Nice idea, though!
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarlusan View Post
Hi again! (I just responded to your post on my thread about bedrest).

My 34-weeker was born on Christmas morning. We were given a Christmas blanket and some Santa hats that ladies in the community had sewn/knitted for the NICU babies, and they meant a lot. My son is about to be 2 and he still sleeps with his NICU Christmas blankie. (The hat no longer fits, of course!)

The baby next to my son (26-weeker) was the 7th child of a welfare mom and when we left, we left her a bag of clothes and a Target gift card. I would bet depending on the hospital (ours was a large regional inner-city trauma center), there would be lots of families that would just have basic needs, especially for siblings at home and so forth.

Also a little extended family education... my in-laws pressured me to come home from the hospital early and have Christmas dinner (I came home on the 26th even though I could have stayed until the 27th), and when I was sitting at the dinner table, after dinner, I excused myself to lie down on the couch, and my mil said "feeling antisocial, are you?" No, how about feeling the stitches from the tear in my vagina! I did just give birth yesterday!! Ah well, I guess a community group couldn't help much there...

Nice idea, though!
Could you please not use the term "welfare mom"? My dh has been out of work for a year and we are on welfare. It's just one thing about me and says nothing about my parenting style. Or me as a person.
post #5 of 15
Ditto PP. And how on earth did you know she was a welfare mother? Did she volunteer this info to you?


What I really liked from the NICU:

--blankets and hats knitted & donated by church groups and the like; clothes

What I sort of liked from the NICU:

--those no-sew fleecy quilt things; got like four of those

What I did NOT like from the NICU:

--everything else: Beanie babies, stuffed animals, ornaments and magnets painted by preschoolers, etc

Not to come across as ungrateful--but I guess I was!

It was just such a high-stress time for us, especially at the holidays, and I remember getting all this stuff and thinking, "oh, right! We're charity cases." I didn't like that feeling a bit.

Plus, most of the stuff was totally useless and I wanted to chuck it, and then felt guilty for wanting to chuck it.
post #6 of 15
Contact the NICu's Medical Social Worker at the hospital in question and ask them what needs there are. They may know of one family in particular that needs extra help or there may be a broader need, such as quilts for each baby who comes through or stocking a "comfort station" for families in residence.
post #7 of 15
Wow, really didn't mean to offend people with that one. Very sorry.

Yes, she did tell me that she was on welfare. And I have been on public assistance, too (WIC). All I meant was "a mom who was on welfare" and I made that slightly shorter by putting the word welfare in front of the word mom. Didn't mean anything by it. Didn't want to imply anything about who she was, her style of parenting... did I mention any of those things? She was a great person and obviously cared a lot about her kids. We talked quite a bit while we were in there together. But, she was on welfare, so obviously she had some financial needs. And I hope she was able to use the gift we left for her.

Sorry!!!
post #8 of 15
The NICU dd was in had a wonderful coffee station every day. It was supported through private donations and community groups. I really looked forward to some coffee, juice and fruit on most mornings! It was one of those little things that make it more bearable.

As far as the holidays... I would have loved to hear about the donation of more glider/rockers! They were always in short supply but so needed and loved by the parents for Kangarooing and just for sitting all day near the babies.

Another thought is to volunteer a team at the Ronald McDonald House to make a meal or a few for the families staying there. I didn't have to use their facilities but I hear a lot of great things from other NICU mamas about them.

Also, my social worker made me aware of a fund that ws started by a previous NICU family to help support current NICU familes by paying some costs for them. It was a small stipend per family- $100, I think- but it could be used for anything other than medical bills. It could have been used for gas, utilities, rent, mortgage, food, whatever! You only had to provide a receipt that you paid and they would reimburse $100. It was very thoughtful and welcome.

Or parking... maybe the group could pay for parking for the NICU families for Christmas Day or any length of time. Our NICU was $3/day to park but that really adds up. It would have felt like a true blessing to find out my parking was free for even one day.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflowers View Post
Or parking... maybe the group could pay for parking for the NICU families for Christmas Day or any length of time. Our NICU was $3/day to park but that really adds up. It would have felt like a true blessing to find out my parking was free for even one day.
We have 50 beds in our unit. We filled 50 envelopes w $3 for parking and brought it in on Thanksgiving. I remember telling the head Dr I hated being in there on a holiday and I hated paying for parking too!
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarlusan View Post
Wow, really didn't mean to offend people with that one. Very sorry.

Yes, she did tell me that she was on welfare. And I have been on public assistance, too (WIC). All I meant was "a mom who was on welfare" and I made that slightly shorter by putting the word welfare in front of the word mom. Didn't mean anything by it. Didn't want to imply anything about who she was, her style of parenting... did I mention any of those things? She was a great person and obviously cared a lot about her kids. We talked quite a bit while we were in there together. But, she was on welfare, so obviously she had some financial needs. And I hope she was able to use the gift we left for her.

Sorry!!!
Thanks for explaining what you meant. It's definitely a loaded term, and explaining what you mean rather than just labeling her a "welfare mom" is really helpful.

If anyone else has questions or is offended by the OP's usage, could you please PM her rather than discussing it on the thread? I'd love to keep this on the board since it's such a timely topic. Thanks!
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflowers View Post
The NICU dd was in had a wonderful coffee station every day. It was supported through private donations and community groups. I really looked forward to some coffee, juice and fruit on most mornings! It was one of those little things that make it more bearable.

As far as the holidays... I would have loved to hear about the donation of more glider/rockers! They were always in short supply but so needed and loved by the parents for Kangarooing and just for sitting all day near the babies.

Another thought is to volunteer a team at the Ronald McDonald House to make a meal or a few for the families staying there. I didn't have to use their facilities but I hear a lot of great things from other NICU mamas about them.

Also, my social worker made me aware of a fund that ws started by a previous NICU family to help support current NICU familes by paying some costs for them. It was a small stipend per family- $100, I think- but it could be used for anything other than medical bills. It could have been used for gas, utilities, rent, mortgage, food, whatever! You only had to provide a receipt that you paid and they would reimburse $100. It was very thoughtful and welcome.

Or parking... maybe the group could pay for parking for the NICU families for Christmas Day or any length of time. Our NICU was $3/day to park but that really adds up. It would have felt like a true blessing to find out my parking was free for even one day.
that sounds like heaven.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
We are talking to the social worker to see if there are needs, either specific to a family or ongoing. We've thought about handmade blankets/hats, preemie clothes, food for nursing moms and scrapbooking supplies for the nurses who make signs for the baby's rooms and isolettes.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflowers View Post
Or parking... maybe the group could pay for parking for the NICU families for Christmas Day or any length of time. Our NICU was $3/day to park but that really adds up. It would have felt like a true blessing to find out my parking was free for even one day.
Wow! Parking was $15 a day at our hospital - it was privately run though, way to profit from other's misfortune.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Bec View Post
Wow! Parking was $15 a day at our hospital - it was privately run though, way to profit from other's misfortune.
That's ridiculous!! How awful. What kind of person thinks of that idea? "Well, they're going to come anyway! Let's make them pay $20 a day! They probably aren't going through a hard time or anything like that. Hospitals are obviously optional places people come to have a good time."
post #15 of 15
When we were first in the NICU, we got a small bag full of stuff from a local nonprofit. It had lip balm, a toothbrush and mini-toothpaste, a small toy for Gwyn, a little brag book, but best of all, it had a book of crossword puzzles and a pen. I actually ended up giving my book away (I'm a reader, but I can't do crossword puzzles to save my life), but what it gave me was peace of mind that I'm not a terrible Mom for getting bored sitting at the NICU, that everyone does after a certain amount of time...the lip balm was also really nice and soothing, because it seems like every NICU in the world partially prides themselves on being drier than the Sahara.

We've got a visit on January 6 and I'm baking some brownies (one tray for nurses, one for families) to take with us. I feel like some homebaked stuff, while it doesn't last very long, is so rare at the NICU...I would have loved if someone brought in brownies and asked me to have some. It's good, too, because baking really de-stresses me, but having my baked goods around is a whole DIFFERENT kind of stress (I am not shy with butter ).
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