12 Preemie Must-Haves For Bringing Your Preemie Baby Home

photo by: @ktducher

Preparing to welcome a new baby home is a time of joy—and stress!—under the most ideal circumstances. But if your baby arrived early and is being cared for in the NICU, bringing them home comes with all of that joy — and a double helping of the stress.

Bringing a preemie home from the NICU requires some extra preparation so you can give your new baby the care they’ll need to grow and thrive. As you make your plans for your preemie’s homecoming, having the right gear and supplies can help to ease the transition and make it through the early days.

This guide can help you get ready, with a comprehensive checklist of preemie must-haves.

What do you do when baby comes home from NICU?

Hospital NICU’s are fully stocked with all the supplies and gear that are needed to care for premature babies. To make the transition from caring for your baby in the NICU to caring for your baby at home as easy as possible, it helps to make sure you have all the preemie must-haves on hand before your baby comes home. This checklist of preemie essentials can help you get organized and get ready: 

  • Diapers and Wipes: Most preemies require special-sized diapers so be sure to stock up on the sizes you need. 
  • Bottles: Ask the NICU staff about the best nipple types and bottles for your baby. 
  • Clothing: Newborn-sized clothing will likely be too big for your baby. You’ll need some cozy preemie-sized onesies and pajamas that fit your baby. 
  • Swaddle Blankets and Sleep Sacks: Keeping premature babies warm at home is essential, and swaddling can help your baby sleep longer and better. Ask the NICU nurses to help you perfect your swaddling techniques so your baby can get the rest they need.   
  • Sleeping Arrangements: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in a crib or bassinet with a firm mattress in their parents' room for at least the first six months of their life. The MamaRoo Sleep® Bassinet offers a firm, flat sleeping surface and adjustable legs, making it a great preemie bassinet that you can use until your baby is 25 pounds or can push up on their arms and legs. Plus it has over 100 motion, speed, and sound combinations that can be tailored to baby’s needs.  
  • Baby Thermometer: A thermometer is an important part of premature baby care and health monitoring. Choose a thermometer that's suitable for newborns. 
  • Bathtub: Make bath time easier with a tub designed for infants that can also double as a preemie essential, like the Cleanwater™ Tubit comes with a newborn insert to cradle your preemie safely and is designed to grow with your baby. 
  • Nasal Aspirator: A basic bulb syringe or a device that helps to suction mucus from your baby’s nose, making it easier for them to breathe, suck, and eat. 
  • Medication Management: If your baby needs medications, consult with your NICU team to make sure you have all the medical supplies and prescriptions you need on hand to continue premature baby care at home.

The extended "bringing preemie home" checklist

Beyond these preemie must-haves, you may want some other items that can make premature baby care a little easier:

  • Baby Monitor: Being able to keep an eye (and an ear) on your baby can give you some added peace of mind when you're not in the same room. 
  • Baby Swing: A baby swing can be a familiar and safe space for your preemie when your tired arms need a break. More than 600 hospital NICUs across the country trust the MamaRoo® Multi-Motion Baby Swing™ to comfort the tiny babies in their care. Want to learn more about this preemie must-have? A NICU nurse explains why its parent-inspired motions keep preemies content and comfortable. 
  • Skin-to-Skin Gear: A specially made wrap or shirt makes it easy to give your baby the beneficial skin-to-skin contact they need.

Do NICU babies have a hard time adjusting to home?

Bringing a  preemie home from the NICU might feel overwhelming, but there are ways to make it a little easier on you.

Use your time in the NICU to gain the confidence you need to care for your baby; the nurses can teach you how to care for preemies and provide any special care your baby needs, including soothing techniques that will calm your baby and help you all settle more easily into a routine. You can also turn to preemie essentials made to soothe babies.

As you and your baby adjust to life at home, it's vital to establish a support system to help you cope with the sometimes overwhelming responsibilities and emotions that go along with premature baby care. Your partner, parents, relatives, and friends are probably eager to pitch in and help in whatever ways they can—providing meals, helping with household chores, or coming over to hold the baby so you can shower, eat, or just get a little break.

You may also want to seek out a support group that connects you with other parents whose babies were in the NICU to share stories about preemie parenting, trade tips, and get comfort from other new parents who are having similar experiences. A pediatrician who is experienced with caring for preterm babies can help you find a local or online group and can also direct you to any specialists you might need as your baby grows.

Get ready to bring your baby home

Bringing your preemie home from the NICUE is a time that’s both joyful and challenging for your family—but the right tools can help. Preemie must-haves like the  MamaRoo® Multi-Motion Baby Swing™—which is used and trusted in more than 600 NICUs in the US—can help you re-create the nurturing environment of the NICU so your preemie can flourish.

And when you purchase these products for your baby, you’re helping hospitals and other NICU families, too, thanks to the 4moms Cares program that donates MamaRoo Multi-Motion Baby Swings to organizations that need assistance.