12 Thoughtful Gifts for a Mom With a Baby in the NICU

Finding the perfect baby gift is a thoughtful process. You want to get the new mom something practical but fun! But when pregnancy or childbirth doesn’t go exactly as planned, and the baby ends up in the NICU, finding the perfect gift takes on a whole new meaning. You’re not worried about what will match the nursery decor. You’re worried about your friend or family member and how she’s coping during what is likely the most stressful time in her life. Besides being there for your NICU mom friend, there are other ways you can support her through this journey. These gifts for NICU moms are thoughtful, useful, and will allow her to focus on her baby’s health instead of worrying about a bunch of other stuff.

NICU moms don’t need bassinets and bouncers, at least not right away. But what they do need is support!

And help with keeping the rest of their life together to they can focus their attention on their baby. If they have a partner or other children at home, a subscription to a meal delivery service is a lifesaver.


Even with mom at the hospital, life goes on. Kids need to eat! Gifting the family a meal subscription can take so much off the their plates in terms of getting stuff done at home. As an added bonus, it fills their plates with delicious, healthy food! Stick to a service that delivers prepared meals rather than boxes of ingredients. They’re easy, fast, and can be taken to the hospital for a good meal for mama.

When in doubt, go with gift cards.

Gifts cards to restaurants (because mom will need to get out of the hospital for a few hours), grocery stores, and places like Target or Costco are so helpful. If mama is taking off work to spend her days at the hospital, the family is likely also dealing with money stress. Also, gift cards that be used at gas stations, because she’ll be doing a lot of driving.

Help NICU moms decorate their little’s one space in the unit.

nicu moms
Image: Every Tiny Thing

These laminated prints from Every Tiny Thing can be hung on incubators, cribs, and anywhere else that could use a splash of color and an encouraging message. Mom will love the little personal touches in their home away from home.

Gift her the gift of something to do with all the down time.

first-time moms nicu moms
Image: Amazon

The truth is, she’ll have a lot of down time! The baby will spend a lot of time in their incubator or crib. And mom will need something to keep her mind occupied. A Kindle Paperwhite is a great gift. Make sure to load it up with a bunch of escapism books so she can let her mind relax a little.

NICU moms will likely need to pump until their babies are strong enough to latch on their own. Get her a hands-free pumping bra to make it easier.

nicu moms
Image: Amazon

Honestly, every pumping mama needs a hands-free pumping bra. But NICU moms especially! Remember, she’ll likely be pumping several times a day, and sitting down for each session might not be an option. This bra from Amazon has thousands of 5-star reviews.

Piggybacking on that, she might appreciate a pretty nursing cover to wear during her pump sessions.

nicu moms
Image: Amazon

Make sure you find her a nursing cover that she doesn’t have to hold in place (sort of defeats the purpose of the hands-free bra!). This tunic-like cover from Amazon is cute, easy to get on and off, and doubles as a stroller and seat cover for when the baby finally graduates from the NICU.

Something super thoughtful for NICU moms: a postpartum care kit.

She might not have had the time she needs to recover before shifting gears into NICU mom, but remember: she just had a baby! Whether she delivered vaginally or via c-section, her body needs some love. Find a cute tote or travel bag and fill it with postpartum care essentials like maxi pads, comfy undies, witch hazel spray or pads, silicone bandages for her c-scar, and whatever else she might need.

Spending all that time in the NICU means a lot of hand-washing, which can wreak havoc on her skin.

nicu moms
Image: Amazon

Being in the NICU means constant hand-washing and sanitizing, which can leave her hands super dry. Make sure she has plenty of heavy-duty hand cream to keep those hands soft. Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream is natural, non-greasy, and unscented.

All that hand-washing presents another conundrum: taking all her jewelry off every time she washes her hands! Which will be so many times.

nicu moms
Image: Amazon

Sure, she could leave her jewelry off. But NICU moms want to keep their comforts close, too. A simple chain she can puts her rings on and wear near her heart is a really thoughtful gift, and one she might not think to get for herself.

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With all the pumping, she’ll want to keep her milk supply up, and staying hydrated is so important. A reusable water bottle is a must.

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Image: Amazon

This Hidrate Spark 2.0 Water Bottle will glow to remind mama it’s time to hydrate! It also tracks her water intake, and the best part is, doesn’t require charging.

There are also a couple of ways to help NICU moms that require buying an actual gift. Honestly, most NICU moms would appreciate friends and family pitching in at home.

Listen, she has to focus all of her attention on baby. It’s so stressful and scary. If she has a partner or other children at home, she’s also probably dealing with the guilt of spending so much time away and not being able to keep up with stuff going on a home. Start a care schedule among friends and family to help pitch in for her while she’s away. Getting kids to and from school, cleaning, homework help, carpooling to activities, there are so many ways you can step up and fill in for her.

But most of all, just be there for HER.

Obviously, everyone is concerned about the baby or babies in the NICU. And rightfully so! But you can’t forget about mama. Just be there. You don’t even have to say anything, or do anything special. Just your presence, your strength, your love will go a long way. Save the “You can do it!” pep talks for when she needs it. Sometimes, she just needs someone to lean on and cry into, a hand to hold, and a familiar face to comfort her during this time. Gifts are amazing, but your love and support will mean the world to her.

(Image: iStock / Wanmongkhol)

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