Monday, March 31, 2008

Going Home, Part 3

This part of Going Home is devoted to saying thank you. Specifically saying thank you to the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and other staff that took care of your baby during his/her stay in the NICU. Many parents have struggled with how to say thank you to the people who have done so much for their baby and their family.

The important thing to remember is to say "thank you." I know this sounds easy but sometimes in the excitement of the moment and the anticipation of bringing their baby home, parents can forget those two important words. Be sincere and let everyone know how much you appreciate what they did for your baby. Taking the time to say thank you will mean a lot to everyone in the NICU.

Sometimes people want to give or do something for the NICU staff as a way to say thank you. Here are some ideas and suggestions to get you started:

1) Write personal notes to each doctor, nurse, RT, etc. that really went the extra mile for your baby and your family. Let them know how much they helped you.
2) Bake goodies for the NICU staff - this always goes over big because seriously, who doesn't want to have a brownie or cookie every once in awhile? Tip: Make a separate batch and divide them up for each shift so that everyone gets to have some.
3) Gift cards - this is a great idea if you have a select group of people that you want to give a gift to (i.e. primary nurses, doctors, etc). Choose a place that either you know they personally like or a common store/restaurant that most people enjoy such as Starbucks, Target, etc.
4) Personalized travel mug - Buy a travel mug with a paper insert that can be removed. Print out pictures of your baby (it's even better if you have a picture of the recipient holding your baby) and then glue it to some nice patterned paper and slip it into the insert holder on the mug.
5) Bath products - Hospital staff have to wash their hands a lot so giving some nice lotion or body scrub would be very appreciated - by them and their hands!
6) Personalized memento that means something to you and/or them - when our son went home we gave soap and lotion to the women in the NICU but for the men we made personalized hockey pucks (we are big hockey fans) that had our son's picture on it. One of the doctors still has it on his desk four years later!

Once your baby goes home, try and stop by the NICU for an occasional visit. The staff love to see how the babies are doing once they have gone home. It's also another great opportunity to show them how much you appreciate what they have done. When you visit, bring an updated picture of your little one along so they can hang it in the break room for all the staff to see. On our daughter's first birthday we brought in brownies and a thank you note that had a picture from her first day and a birthday picture. It was a great way to show how far she had come.

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