A friend of a friend on Facebook posted this recently and since I know a lot of pregnant ladies and have babies on the brain all the time, I thought this was very insightful. Hopefully no one I know will have to go through having a baby in the NICU, but just in case, it's really cool to have some info on what you can do to help. Hope this helps you if you know someone who has to deal with it!
We have a good number of friends who have babies in the in NICU. I was thinking about ways people helped us when Isabelle was in the NICU for 3 months. Maybe it will give you ideas to help families you know who's babies are in the NICU. Post any ideas you have too.
1. Gift cards to eat out.
Since we wanted to see our baby as much as possible, we spent a lot of time at the hospital. Some kind people gave us money to eat out or looked at the restaurants around the hospital and gave us gift cards to those places. If it is a long distance, gas cards are great too. If there is a Walmart around, a Walmart gift card is great because you can get gas and essentials at the same time.
2. Helped out around our house.
Normal house stuff seems so insignificant when your baby is in the hospital. It is a blessing if other people help you with it. Volunteer to do their laundry ever 4-5 days. Ask if you can clean their house once a week when they are at the hospital. Fill the fridge with basics. This time a year shovel the snow. Babysit the kids at night. (In most NICUs children are not allowed, so it can be hard for the parents to spend time together with their baby.)
Nothing beats a good home cooked meal. Meals that took little to no prep were great. Meals that had little to no clean up were great too. There is a lot of running around when your child is in the NICU, so a bag of healthy snacks are great too.
4. Hand written cards.
Hand written cards are such a blessing in a time of trial. Reading from someone's own hand a verse God has used in their life and that they love your child was so encouraging. We had children make us cards. Adults wrote us notes. A lady typed out a Ron Hamilton song ("I am your creation") for us to put up in the room.
5. Praying for us.
Praying specifically for some requests we had was the best gift of all. We wanted God to work to specific ways, and it was awesome to know other people were talking to God about our cares too!
So now, you don't have to say, "If you need anything, tell me." (Like they are going to list for you all their needs. No one ever does that.)
But now you can say, "Do you mind if I give this to you?" or "Would you want someone to do this for you?"
Hope this helps you know how to help a family who has a child in the NICU.
Also, there's more info on NICU care packages here. This is a multiple-post story, so be sure to read on past the first one!