Care package for parents with a long NICU stay ahead?

My good friends welcomed their little girl a little earlier than expected, at about 29 weeks gestation. They live in the north of Quebec, so baby was airlifted to the closest NICU, in a Quebec city hospital. Baby is doing pretty well, but they expect to be there for a month or two until she gets strong enough to go home.

A friend is giving them a place to stay while they’re there, so they’re not stuck in the hospital or a hotel. Since they have an address there for a couple of months, I want to send them a care package to help them feel a little better while they’re away from home and going through all the hospital stress.

I just don’t know what sort of things would be helpful. I’ll send candy and a happy card, but I’d like to try and cover some things they might need. I know I can ask them if they need anything, but they’re the sort of people who would say no even if they did, and in their current state of mind they really have no clue anyway. I don’t want to give them anything extra to think about, you know? They didn’t bring any of their baby gear, but I guess none of that’s really necessary while the kiddo’s in the hospital anyway, right? Blankets, preemie clothes, that sort of thing?

Dopers who have been through this: is there anything that you can think of that might be a welcome sight for new, first-time parents spending hours on end in a NICU with their little one, in a city far from home?

I haven’t, but in 1995, one of my friends gave birth at 26 weeks for still-unknown reasons, and your friends would really appreciate gift cards for gas, groceries, and restaurants. I wouldn’t recommend giving them things like lotion, and scented things are usually not permitted in a place like that anyway.

Her daughter will be 19 next month, and is totally normal. :cool:

My suggestion would be reading material - I imagine they’d be spending hours and hours not doing much except sitting.

I think reading material, magazines, maybe a gift card so they can get ebooks if they read those. Gift cards for the nearby restaurants (even fast food) might be helpful.

If the mom is pumping for the baby, things like breast pads, cleaning wipes for the pump, milk storage bags, and lanolin lotion may come in handy.

You might be able to get a gift card for the hospital’s cafeteria and/or gift shop.

Books get misplaced. If they happen to have a Nook, Kindle or other such device putting some credits into their Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble account would let them choose their own reading material. If they don’t have one, lending them one would also be nice.

I was in a similar situation–26-week baby born last June, albeit at a hospital only 30 minutes away. I second the suggestion for reading material. Baby items made me weepy for a longish time–he couldn’t wear them, and it brought home the abnormality of it all. Hats were great, though–he (and most NICU babies) could wear hats.

This baby is also doing great. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the advice, everyone. Gift cards sound like a great idea but as I’m in another country it’s hard for me to get those. I’ll try and get a bunch of our friends together to chip in for a care package, and make sure someone local is involved so they can pick up gift cards.

He uses an iPad - I’d think there’s a Kindle app for that, right? Because book credits sound like a wonderful idea too.

I’ll also send them a hat for the wee one.

I was coming to suggest an iTunes gift card if they have an iPad (which you just confirmed), they can download apps, movies, or music to pass the time. As you are far away, all you need is their email address for iTunes or Amazon gift cards.