by Laura Sussely-Pope
Most little girls have the dream of how their babies will look and how they'll dress them. But dreams and reality sometimes don't match.
That day comes when you find out you're having a baby. For months you've been looking all the cutesy newborn clothes and wonder what he or she will look like. Ok, admit it -- you've even bought an outfit or ten.
Then, something shocking happens. You go into labor early. Your newborn is tiny and has wires and tubes everywhere! One day all those cute newborn clothes will put to good use, but right now they would swallow this tiny little being.
Find out from the nursery what your baby can wear.
If your baby has a bili light or is in an incubator, you might also notice a lack of clothing. Some nurseries prefer only a diaper because of various wires, IV’s and tubes.
Also, some babies are born so early (micro preemies) that clothes may rip or irritate their thin/sensitive skin.
Once some of those wires and tubes become a thing of the paste, you'll be able to bring clothing for your wee one.
Hats are a must in the NICU environment since a baby’s body heat escapes through their head. Preemies are even more susceptible to losing precious body heat so, keep those tiny noggins warm!
Friends that crochet or knit can make wonderful warm hats for baby. They should be made from very soft cotton or baby yarn. Sometimes your baby will require holes for the cpap apparatus or special fasteners to help hold cpap or oxygen. Ask your baby’s nurse about this issue.
Many programs make hats for NICU babies. Tap into this resource.
Sleepers: are wonderful when your baby is moved into an open bassinet. As they leave the warmth of the incubator, an extra layer is welcome to keep the heat in. It's best to find sleepers with long sleeves, feet and snaps so the lines can be ran out between the snaps. Sleepers with zippers make this harder to do.
Gowns allow easy access to umbilical lines, monitors, catheters and diapers while offering the warmth of a sleeper.
One piece t-shirts and onesies: can be purchased as long- or short-sleeved. They snap between the legs.
Booties and socks: You may have friends anxious to crochet booties for NICU babies. Even if your baby won't wear them often, they're beyond cute and will make keepsake to show your teen a few years down the road.
It's challenging to have your baby born so early and surrounded by nosy machines. Being able to dress your preemie is a major milestone and another step toward taking your baby home.
Your mom or grandmother may have headed the toy section to find doll clothes to dress their tiny baby. Now, many popular department stores carry preemie clothes so you'll have an easier finding the perfect outfit.
Specialty stores also carry only preemie clothes. You can find advertisements for these on NICU bulletin boards, parenting magazines or through search engines. You'll be amazed at the gorgeous clothes that can be bought now.
We all dream of bringing our babies home in that "coming home" outfit. When you have a preemie that time is extra special because of all you and your baby have been through.
Now, you can make coming home just as special by being able to dress your little one in clothes that actually fit. Congratulations, and remember your sprout may be tiny now but will grow quickly like a weed!
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.