I am sure you have put a lot of thought into planning your baby’s wardrobe. It is one of the fun things a Mom gets to do while her belly is growing, and she is preparing for the new baby to arrive. Then you get faced with the surprise of having a preemie, and you wonder, “what now?” The truth is your preemie will not need a lot of clothing for the first few weeks of life. The hospital staff will be busy trying to assess your baby's levels to see what they may need in regards to oxygen, feeding, and monitoring their temperature. During this time, there are some cool essential accessories that your preemie will be able to wear long before clothing. Most hospitals allow little hats to be worn right off the bat. No matter what size, Preemie babies lose a lot of heat through their heads, so trying to keep your baby's temperature regulated will start with a hat. We have many different caps for you to choose from! These range from small printed beanies, hats with fun little sayings, to solid colored caps that will coordinate with outfits and other accessories like mittens and booties.
Speaking of mittens, they can be beneficial in keeping little hands covered so they can not pull out feeding tubes, or scratch cute little cheeks. We also highly recommend leg warmers to keep tiny legs and even arms warm. They are nice because they don’t get in the way of diaper changes, and that always makes the nurses' and parent's jobs easier. My other suggestion is purely for the cuteness factor. A simple diaper cover doesn't keep your baby any warmer, but they sure do add a bit of color and fun. No matter where your baby is on the road out of the NICU, they will be wearing a diaper, so why not add some pizzaz to it!
As soon as the staff feels your baby is stable, making forward progress and has hit the required milestones, they will give the go-ahead to bring clothing in for your preemie to wear. This begs the question, “What preemie clothes should I get?” Let me break down some of the things you should think about and what styles we carry that will help you. The first consideration is the medical devices hooked up to your baby. If they have IV’s, monitors, and such, then I would recommend the NICU-Friendly styles we carry. These all open at the shoulders, so dressing your preemie around their medical needs is very easy. Many of these styles have velcro closures making dressing fast and straightforward. We do have one style from Perfectly Preemie, called a NIC-Sac, that is made with plastic snap closures. These are effective because unlike metal snaps, they will not warm up and are okay for your little one to wear if an X-Ray is needed.
We have many different NICU-Friendly styles that you can choose from: IV shirts, NIC-suits, NIC- Crossover Baggettes, dresses, and one-piece jumpsuits. Besides having the ability to work around the medical needs your preemie may have, these styles also help parents with easy dressing. Most of these styles will allow you to lay your baby down and then dress around them. This works great for new parents that are not familiar with dressing such small infants! You may discover you really enjoy the easy dressing styles of these garments and will want to continue using them even after your baby has outgrown the wires. That is understandable, and we think the Jumpsuit from Perfectly Preemie may be one of those styles!
Your next question might be, “What if my preemie doesn’t need NICU-Friendly items?” Some of Perfectly Preemie's styles are offered in both open shoulder and non-open versions; for example, the Crossover Baggette. This style has been very popular for parents with the open shoulder and fold-over bottom. We now have it in the non-open shoulder and also in a larger size, Take-Me-Home. Their super popular Sweet-Tee is also available with closed and open shoulders.
When your little one has gained more weight and doesn’t have the same medical needs, we suggest parents look at the kimono style bodysuits from Itty Bitty Baby, or the above mentioned little Sweet-Tee’s from Perfectly Preemie. These one-piece shirts have simple opening fronts that provide easy dressing options and quick access for diaper changes. The most significant benefit of these one-piece styles is that they’ll stay in place and keep your baby’s back and tummy from being exposed. They also can be used as a base layer to which you can add pants or leg warmers. We recommend footed pants, which help eliminate the need for socks; however, we carry cute preemie socks too! Another option is one-piece sleepers that include the shirt and pants all in one easy little package! We do carry both snap front and zip front versions; many times, this will be a parent's choice for what they find most convenient for them. If your little one still has any medical wires, we suggest the snap so they can easily work between the snaps. For extra warmth, a basic Gerber onesie can be added under the sleeper.
From here, the options are much bigger and mostly depend on your preferences. We do think that the preemie clothes that work the best are the ones that provide for easy dressing even in complicated situations. These little ones are fragile, and as I was recently reminded of by a parent, many times, they should still be in the womb! So keeping them warm and cozy, without a lot of fuss, is by far the best idea I can put forward.
We do our best to provide you with lots of choices, so no matter what you need, you can find the size and style your preemie requires and that you are excited to dress them in! If you need any help, please feel free to email us at email@example.com, or if you see Melissa’s cute face at the bottom right of your screen, start a chat with her.