‘’WHAT DO I PACK FOR A NICU STAY?’’

You never thought you would say these words, but now suddenly your mind is racing, emotions everywhere…

We got you mom!

These are the items I wished I had in my bag with my NICU stay the first few days.

For Mom

In the beginning Mom’s items will be more important to pack.

Pumping Gear:

  • A Good Double Electric Hospital Grade Breast pump, especially if you are expecting a long NICU stay.
    (Under normal circumstances you may not have planned to immediately pump for your baby. Human milk is especially beneficial for premature babies, and if you wish to provide breastmilk for your baby—by breast/chest or pump—then your labor of love will be to establish and maintain a milk supply while your baby is in the NICU.)
  • Breastmilk storage bags – LOTS OF THESE
  • Syringes to catch your colostrum in the first few days, this way you can catch every drop.
  • Miltons or microwave sterilizer, so you can disinfect your pump easily.
  • Bottle brush and sunlight so you can easily wash your pump in your room after every pump
  • Breast pads
  • Nipple cream like Lanolin or coconut oil (to soothe sensitive nipples)

Clothing:

  • 2 – 3 Comfortable nursing/ pumping bras
  • 2-3 Pajamas, slippers, socks, and a robe
  • 3-4 Comfortable tracksuits, lounge wear or dresses.
  • 6 x Comfortable undies that will fit nicely over your C- section wound, (they most likely will get stained so don’t bring the ones you would like to keep after the hospital stay)
  • Laundry bag for all the dirty items

Bits and pieces:

  • SNACKS (the breastmilk making hunger is REAL) You will be running around between the NICU and pumping and waking up every 2-3 hours can be super exhausting, so having lots of fluids and snacks to keep you hydrated is very important to give you some energy to get through the day.
  • Toiletries, like shampoo, soap, toothbrush etc.
  • Maternity pads
  • Linen savers
  • Dried fruits to help avoid constipation from all the medication.
  • Chargers, multiplug and small lead(sometimes the plugs are far away from the bed)
  • Books or something to keep you busy while you pump
  • Wet wipes for down there.
  • Passport or ID (as well as a copy) and pen for registering your baby.

For Baby


Your baby will most likely not need clothes for the first few weeks of their NICU stay, as they will be in a warm incubator.
You can however pack these items for your baby for the first while in the NICU:
  • 3-4 Preemie Beanies
  • 1-2 Preemie Dummies (for nonnutritive sucking and to help develop babies sucking reflex)
  • 3-4 receiving blankets (100% cotton)
  • Cotton balls, surgical spirits for umbilical cord.
  • Bum cream (in a tube, no need to stick finger in the tub and spread germs), sensitive wet wipes
  • Fragrance free moisturizer, and soap
  • Petroleum jelly
  • 3-4 NICU Bonding hearts
    • (A person’s sense of smell is closely linked to memory throughout life, and these memories can often trigger certain emotions that provide relief. For a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), certain smells — like a mother’s — can provide comfort in more ways than one.
    • Mom places one clean fabric heart on her skin for a few hours to absorb her unique scent. When mom must leave the NICU she leaves the NICU heart near her baby in the isolate to provide comfort and continue bonding even during times of separation.)
  • Octopal
    • The octopal acts as a calming aid: The tentacles replicate the umbilical cord, which babies hold onto in the womb. With the tentacles to hold, babies are less likely to pull out tubes and essential monitoring equipment cables that are attached to their bodies
  • Preemie Nappies:
    • Baby’s Naturally nappies (for babies under 2kg)
    • Huggies Prem nappies (for babies 2-3kg)
  • NICU Milestone cards – to visually capture those important moments in the first weeks and months of your baby’s life
  • NICU Journal – Keep a NICU Journal, write down the events of the day, the up’s, the downs, and the special moments. 

I hope this list helps to make the start of your journey a Little Little bit easier.

Lots of love, Little Little Prem

Ask to speak to the head of the NICU, and find out from them what they would need from you for your baby.

Each hospital has their own policies and rules and it would be best for you to consult them before baby is born if possible.

For all your Preemie essentials head to www.littlelittleprem.co.za