New parents with an infant in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) need a special level of support. Here are several gift ideas for them, as well as sweet gift ideas for devoted NICU nurses.

By Maressa Brown
October 22, 2020
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Credit: Illustration by Francesca Spatola; Parachute Home (1)

No matter the circumstances surrounding a birth, welcoming a newborn can feel all at once joyful and stressful. But that typical new parent stress is bound to be magnified if your child is born requiring special care and therefore needs to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

"Many times the excitement and anticipation of child birth is now replaced with anxiety and the challenges that come from caring for a medically-complex baby," says Kathy Burkett, NICU Patient and Family Engagement Coordinator at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, whose own daughter spent time in the NICU. "The health care journey can be a long one and each phase can cause a range of emotions."

And given that newborns in the United States are increasingly likely to be admitted to a NICU, more parents out there could use extra support. Show your love with these gift ideas for NICU parents, as well as dedicated NICU nurses who care for critically ill babies every day.

Best Gifts for NICU Parents

Burkett says simple care package items, journals, and anything that helps a NICU parent stay comfortable and well-fed would be welcomed. A few specific ideas:

Credit: EveryTinyThing.com

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Every Little Thing's journal offers new parents spaces to track everything going on in their baby's daily life, including prompts and spots to track the day's information, plus a "weekly summary" page with room to track the week’s new milestones, baby's likes and dislikes, as well as room to write a longer journal entry.

Credit: Parachute Home

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Whether they need comfy footwear while spending long hours in the NICU or need to rest their achy feet when they get home, these unisex plush booties from Parachute Home are sure to be well-loved. They're made from supersoft sherpa and perfect for the colder months—or cold hallways of the NICU. 

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Coming and going from the hospital means taking extra precautions to stay safe. Make it easy for parents with this all-in-one gift set from Honest, which includes two masks, a disinfecting spray, hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, face and body lotion, and a canvas pouch.

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This nontoxic bath and body gift set is made with ingredients that are extra-safe and soothing for postpartum skin. It also includes a body brush for dry brushing, a technique for achieving glowing skin. 

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This super-soft hoodie has a variety of storage compartments that make it easy to bring necessities to and from the NICU. 

Credit: Spoonful of Comfort

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NICU parents are likely not spending a lot of time in the kitchen, which is why this care package is sure to be well-received. Featuring a 64-oz. jar of soup, 1/2 dozen bacci rolls, and 1/2 dozen cookies, you can pick and choose from a variety of flavors. 

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NICU parents can make hospital meals fancier and sweeter with this set featuring a toteable salad container, glass water bottle, reusable colorful napkins, a hibiscus, mint and lemon syrup to jazz up water, champagne-flavored gummy bears, and a box of inspiring quote cards. 

Best Gifts for NICU Nurses

NICU staff members are sure to appreciate recognition in the form of a gift card, a food delivery, or another special gift, notes Burkett. A few ideas:

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Celebrate the NICU nurse warrior caring for your baby or your loved one's little one with this charming mug.

Credit: SendaMeal.com

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Long hours in the NICU mean nurses and other staff members are likely pressed for time when it comes to meal prep. Consider sending a thank you dinner for two or four from SendaMeal.com. Gift recipients receive an elegant voucher and a list of dinner menus—and desserts—to choose from. 

Credit: Bean Box

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This Bean Box Good Morning Gift Set adds a little luxury to a NICU nurse's a.m. (or anytime) caffeine fix. It features four artisan coffees, two biscotti cookies, two dutch stroop wafels, two gourmet granola pouches, and two artisan crafted preserves for spreading and dipping. 

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