Motherhood + Marriage

Top 10 NICU Mama Must-Haves

ICYMI: I gave birth to our son on September 17th! Because I was only 30.5 weeks pregnant, he’s been in the NICU ever since. While it’s certainly been a rollercoaster and the hardest time of my life, we know he’s getting the best care and getting stronger so he can come home soon. Between pumping every 3 hours and going back and forth to the hospital constantly, I’ve come to have a few favorite products that get me through the long days. Some of these I didn’t know about beforehand and I wish I would’ve! So, I thought this post might be helpful for any mamas who are expecting their babes to spend some time in the NICU. If you have any questions or any suggestions on products I need to incorporate into my routine, leave a comment or send me an email [pgchaulk@gmail.com].

1) Lanolin – A little TMI, but you will swear by this product if you’re pumping. Everything can get really sore/raw, and this is a lifesaver. I also use it on my lips! The hospital gives you a little tube, but I recommend stocking up or getting the bigger tube. It really does make a great difference.
2) A roomy tote – I ordered this tote during the Nsale to use as my diaper bag, and I’m so glad I did. It’s become the perfect bag to take to and from the hospital. It fits all my pumping equipment, bottles of milk, a book, snacks, and any other things I want to take to and from with me. You’ll want a big bag for your commute, trust me.
3) Body butter – Any time you scrub in to go into the NICU, it entails a lot of handwashing with not the most forgiving of soap. Because it has to kill literally every germ, it’s not moisturizing in the least. Having a body butter at home has helped to bring my skin back to life after all the handwashing. I apply a generous layer to my skin once I’m doing being at the hospital for the day and it helps to undo some of the damage done during my multiple visits to the NICU during the day. This one from Carol’s Daughter smells INCREDIBLE and is so, so moisturizing. Highly recommend.
4) Prenatals  – Because I’m religiously pumping, my lactation consultant told me to still take my prenatals to help with my supply. Not to mention all the other good vitamins it has inside! I love these that I ordered off Amazon.
5) Leggings – I have been LIVING in leggings ever since my c-section. I’m still wearing these maternity ones because it helps to keep everything feeling binded together after my surgery. They’re so easy to throw on and go and are comfy for hours of sitting in a chair for kangaroo care.
6) Pumping bra  – This may be the most important essential. In fact, I went over a week without having one and I don’t know how I lived before it! This product is actually what inspired this post. I pump every 3 hours for 30 minutes, so 4 total hours of my day are spent sitting in a chair with a falange stuck on me. This helps the process be hands-free. It’s perfect so I can get some stuff done instead of just wasting this time. In fact, I’m currently writing this post while pumping ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can check email, make phone calls, work on the blog, or look at pictures of Dillon all while getting this necessary task done. LIFE. SAVER.
7) A journal – I definitely recommend having something to keep track of all the ups and downs of the NICU. The Littlest Peanut is a great diary for all parents of preemies. The author herself has two preemies so no detail is left out. There’s places to write info about milestones, notes from the doctors, and hurdles yet to cross. It’s such a cute book and has helped me so much to keep track of Dillon’s accomplishments and what we have yet to come up.
8) Nursing dresses – These are great for wearing around the house when you have pumping on your mind. It’s easy to pump in these, but obviously it’d be easier to nurse since if you pump in this it isn’t hands free. But I love this brand for all nursing clothes. They’re so soft and made so well. I usually sleep in one which helps with the overnight pump sessions. Once Dillon is home and I’m breastfeeding, I’m sure I will wear these even more.
9) Dry shampoo – Let’s be real. My beauty routine is the last thing on my mind right now. I shower every morning before going to the hospital but after I put on some face moisturizer, I want to be out the door. If I’m motivated, I may throw on some mascara but that’s it. And don’t even get me started on my hair. I’m lucky if it gets brushed. And if it does, I throw in some dry shampoo to soak up oil and add texture and call it a day. This will be a life (and time) saver for you as you are gearing up for day after day of commuting to the hospital.
10) Snacks + water – You’ll definitely want to fill your tote with snacks and water. Water is necessary to help build your breast milk supply and I noticed if I go a long time without some, my pumping sessions are less lucrative. As for snacks, I am WAY more hungry now that I’m pumping than I ever was pregnant! Which is saying something, because towards the end of my pregnancy I was always starving. I keep a stash of nutri-grain bars, almonds, and other on-the-go snacks to have after I’m done pumping or in the car on the way to or from the hospital. Trust me, you’ll thank me.

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