Creating a NICU memory book may not seem like a high priority when your baby is in the hospital, but you will want to have a keepsake of this time in your child's life. For better or worse, the NICU is an important part of your child's life story.
Ideas for Creating a NICU Memory Book
While there are a variety of fill-in-the-blank baby books available for parents, many of these books have pages that don't really fit the needs of a baby in the NICU. Making your own NICU memory book can be a great way to create a special keepsake.
Here are some ideas for pages you may wish to include in your NICU memory book:
- Who were the doctors and nurses who helped to take care of your baby? Do you have any stories about someone who was especially helpful?
- What bonding rituals did you have to help you spend time with your baby? Were there special stories you liked to read or songs you liked to sing?
- What were some of your baby's important milestones during his/her stay in the NICU? For a baby in the NICU, coming off a ventilator, getting to full feeds, or moving to an open crib can be a major accomplishment. Be proud of the progress your child is making!
Cards and letters from friends and family make wonderful additions to your baby's scrapbook as well. If you wish, you can even leave a few blank pages in the album for visitors to write letters your child can read when he/she is old enough to understand the significance of time spent in the NICU.
If you need help downloading the printable book, check out these helpful tips.
Many parents are hesitant to photograph their children in the NICU. While your baby's appearance and the medical equipment surrounding him/her can be intimidating, don't let this discourage you from taking pictures of the newest addition to your family. Your baby will only be this small once. While you can always get rid of the photos at a later date if you decide you don't want them, you'll never be able to go back in time to photograph your child during his/her first few weeks.
NICU photos can be converted to black and white for a less harsh appearance. Certain medical items can also be professionally removed from the photos if you find them too upsetting.
There are plenty of general baby-themed patterned papers and embellishments available at craft stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michael's Crafts. If you're looking for NICU and/or premature baby supplies, however, My Kid's Inspiration is a great resource. This wonderful Web site carries a number of items designed by parents of preemie twins who had a six week NICU stay.
Scrapbooking as Therapy
Having a child with special medical needs can be very stressful. Whether your baby was born prematurely or there were complications during the delivery, it's important not to forget to take care of yourself as well. Scrapbooking can be a great form of therapy during your baby's time in the NICU.
Many hospitals have NICU support groups that encourage parents to scrapbook as a way to express their thoughts and feelings during this difficult time. If your hospital doesn't offer such a group, consider starting your own. Sharing your favorite hobby with a group of people who are going through the same life-changing experience can be a wonderful way to boost your spirits.
Additional LoveToKnow Resources
If you're the parent of a child in the NICU, you can find a variety of helpful information on the LoveToKnow Baby Web site. Whether you're looking for advice on your child's medical needs or tips on finding clothes to fit his/her tiny body, LTK Baby can help.