As you know, my twin boys spent 91 and 93 days in the NICU. It was a long journey, but we were all very excited to be home as a family together. Especially their big brother! He only had seen them through a window until they got home.
Even though we had three months to prepare for the boys coming home, I didn’t feel prepared at all. They were still fairly tiny…around 6 lbs and 4 lbs…and I’d never had a preemie before. What would I do without the nurses around? How would I know if something was wrong without all those machines beeping and alerting me? Even though I had a newborn before, how would I handle two at once? I am a worrier by nature, but this experience intensified everything.
I also wasn’t sure if I could handle them being readmitted to the hospital, so I wanted to make sure I had everything to keep them as germ free as possible. They came home in August, so Flu/RSV season was also right around the corner. Many NICU nurses warned me how severe either of those could be for my babies.
So, I armed myself with the best defenses I could think of. From hand sanitizer to cleaning wipes, I got ready to keep my babies healthy.
I’ve compiled a list of the preemie essentials I used. This is not just a list of items like bedding or gear, but items that can give you a little piece of mind when there are no more hospital monitors or nurses watching over your precious little one. These items saved my sanity a little.
I have not been sponsored by any of these companies. They are all items that we used, and that I found helpful. I’ve included my affiliate links through Amazon, which will provide me with a little help to keep my blog going, if you make a purchase. Simply click the picture, and it will take you right to the item.
My bigger guy came home with a monitor from the hospital because he had an episode right before he left. My little guy did not, so I was completely panicked that he would stop breathing, and I wouldn’t have any monitor to alert me. We had used an Angelcare Monitor with my first son, but we would get false readings when he would move off the pad. Also, the twins weren’t going to sleep in a crib right away, so I needed something portable. Luckily, I found Snuza.
Snuza is a portable monitor that clips right onto the baby’s diaper. It will alarm if there is no movement detected after 10 seconds. It really helped me sleep better knowing this was on my son. As soon as my bigger guy came off his hospital monitor, I bought one of these for him too. I definitely recommend getting an extra battery made by the company because I found it really hard to find a replacement when I needed one. The original battery did last over 6 months, though.
I do want to point out, however, that monitors like these are not a perfect solution. User error can happen, so you should still follow your doctor/NICU’s advice such as nothing extra (blankets, pillows) in the crib, putting the baby to sleep on their back, and in their own space to reduce SIDS. These monitors may make you feel better, but they are by no means fool proof.
In addition to having a monitor right on my babies, once I moved them to their own rooms (after about 3 months,) I still needed to be able to see them. I decided on a video monitor. I just went with one that had two different cameras, so I could see each baby. I only left them up until they were mobile because then I was worried they might reach the cords.
As I mentioned, my babies did not sleep in cribs right away. I wanted to be close by for those 3 hour feedings at night. Plus, I just felt better having them in my room. Our room is pretty small, so I decided on the Fisher Price Rock ‘N Plays. Not only were they really easy to move from room to room, but they rock, and they are tilted up at an angle, in case there are any reflux issues. One word of warning…they do have a plastic support inside, so be conscious of rotating your baby’s head so they don’t get a flat spot.
As I also mentioned, I was super anxious about my babies getting sick and having to go back to the hospital. To avoid this, we really isolated ourselves, and if we did have a visitor, they needed to also use hand sanitizer. In addition, I liked having Clorox wipes around the house to wipe door knobs, light switches, etc. For any of my older son’s toys, I used a baby safe alternative wipe. It may sound crazy, but we made it through FLU/RSV season without any sickness.
I also was paranoid about germs on their bottles and my pumping equipment. These microwave sterilizing bags saved my sanity many, many times.
One last thing I kept in the house was disposable gloves. My hands would get raw and chapped from so much hand washing, so this was a good alternative. I would put on a pair before a diaper change, then not have to wash after. I would put lotion on my hands at night, then wear the gloves to help heal them. I used a latex and powder free glove, in case of any allergies.
Although we didn’t go many places, when we did, I wanted my babies protected…from germs, people touching them, etc. I’m not sure what it is about babies, but people can’t seem to stop themselves from poking their heads way to close for my comfort. These covers and signs helped a little bit. I think my evil stare helped the rest back off.