Taking Preemie baby photos

Taking Preemie baby photos

Have a preemie and wondering how you can still get your first new born baby photos? We have answers for you.

When you have a preemie, a number of typical first time mama experiences are taken from you. Baby photos does not have to be one of them. Your baby may be a few weeks early or months, what matters is that you capture this special time in their life. 

1. Time your photo shoot around adjusted age of within 2-3 weeks around what your due date was. Typically if you had already booked a photographer, this makes no change. My son’s photo shoot was done when he was 70 days old, making him a few weeks past his due date. As long as you stay close to your expected due date, your baby should be easy going and nap through the shoot giving you adorable photos. If your baby is much past your expected due date, they have more awake time making it a bit harder of a photo shoot. 

2. Let your photographer know the situation. This allows them to make sure the photo shoot area is germ free or perhaps they can do the shoot in your own home. 

3. Make sure to capture your NICU baby/first nursery experience. As joyful and awful the NICU experience is, it will be a blur one day and having some photos will be a precious keepsake. At the time I didn’t want any photos from our NICU experience, and it took me over a year to be able to look at them. But now I’m so grateful I have them. Tip: Hospitals often have baby NICU photographers who will take photos or they will allow you to arrange this yourself. If not, use your iPhone and snap away your own personal shots. Be sure to only take photos of your baby. 

4. Have fun! Let go, and enjoy the newborn photo shoot. It might be hard to have someone else handle your baby after you finally got home with your baby, but enjoy! It is a treat for you and your family to capture this special moment. 

7 gift ideas for new preemie parents

Have a friend or relative who has a preemie? We put together top gifts preemie moms and dads could really use.

For mom and dad:

  1. Baby friendly lotion/moisturizer for their hands (which will get dry from all the hand sanitizer and hand washing)
  2. Journal and pens for the parents to mark each milestone/day
  3. New receiving blankets/baby clothes, other new baby type gifts
  4. Gift cards for nearbye restaurants
  5. Food dropped off frequently: meals, snacks, coffee, anything!                                
  6. Milestone/foot print maker
  7. Encouraging words/poster/bookmark to keep handy at the NICU for strength

Tip: Whenever you visit the NICU, come freshly washed, fresh clean clothing and make sure that you and your family are not sick. Wash your hands before entering the baby’s bed area and feel free to let the parents know all the precautions you took – it will put them at ease so they can enjoy your visit. 

This blog does not receive advertisement sponsorship. Any product photos were selected to provide sample ideas based on writers preference at the time.

Preemie hospital bag

Preemie hospital bag

Have a preemie or having a high risk pregnancy? We have provided you a list of top must have items that will help you during your NICU stay. While the hospitals will provide your baby with the essentials during their NICU stay (i.e., diapers, wipes, iron, vitamin D, blankets…and life saving equipment), below are items that helped us during our 53 day journey. NICU nurses will often give you a shelf or small space for your personal items. Be sure to tape name tags on your belongings and recognize your baby could be moved to another pod/bed at anytime – so keep your items organized and mobile. 

  1. Poster/image for motivation that you can put up. Given you will spend countless hours watching monitors, a little sign/reminder to give you strength goes a long ways. You will need to be smart where you put this so hospital staff don’t complain. Avoid painted walls. 
  2. Tiny stuffy. A little something you keep near the babies bedside so you have something to cuddle with during times you cannot hold your baby. It is your pre home nursery after all. If you are able to get your hands on the preemie octopus, all the better. Be sure no stuffies are left with your baby as that could be a suffercation risk. 
  3. Slippers and cozy robe. Something you can wear during your baby kangaroo care sessions. Baby carrying shirts are also nice. Keep in mind what you bring in must be sterile. You should not wear clothing you travelled to the hospital in when you hold your child. Your clothing could have germs. Same goes for visitors. My visitors brought extra clothing that they changed into or they would wear the hospital provided robes. 
  4. Organic baby dish soap and bowl. Use this to clean pump parts, baby pacifiers, etc. The hospital soaps may be to harsh for little ones.
  5. Organic baby wash soap. If you want to use your own gentle baby products for babies first baths. 
  6. Dairy free baby probiotics drops. Do your own research and determine if this is right for you and/or your baby. Some babies born early lack the proper bacteria in their gut and may benefit from these drops. Some hospitals in the world try this but many do not yet, so you would have administer the drops yourself. 
  7. Journal. Write in this daily. Make notes on babies likes, dislikes, milestones, what they did that day, daily weight, who visited/gifts given. Great keepsake for years to come.
  8. Baby books and nursery time. Great time to start reading to your little one and learn nursery rhymes. 
  9. Maternity/baby prep books. Use some of your time to catch up on the books you didn’t get to read yet. Keep in mind, it’s important to rest between pumping, feeding, holding, etc. Nurses are great sources of information, they can teach you how to swaddle your baby.
  10. A few baby outfits. Be sure to tag your clothing and put a sign up that tells the nurses your baby has their own items. It is such a great feeling when your baby can finally fit preemie clothing!  Celebrate! Nurses love to dress your baby too!
  11. Snacks. While you can’t eat at the bedside, you will need and abundance of food given you just had a baby and especially if you are breastfeeding. Keep stocked with snacks and water throughout the day. 
  12. Phone and charger. For when you need to talk to someone, text, google. Whatever keeps you strong. 
  13. Unsented baby safe lotion. Use this on yourself and for baby massages. Your hands will need it from all the hand washing you will be doing. Baby massages are thought to have long term benefits for your baby. I continued these until my baby was a year old. 
  14. Crystal nail file. The perfect nail trimmer for those delicate fingers. 

Pregnancy after a preemie – what to expect

Pregnancy after a preemie – what to expect

You will be excited and scared. You will try to control the uncontrollable. Your feelings will be mixed and there is nothing wrong with that. Enjoy the beauty of being pregnant again and stay strong for you and your growing family.

It starts with excitement. I was immediately happy when I found out I was expecting my second child. I was so excited I had spent the entire morning planning how I would surprise my husband with the news. It was perfect! The rest of the day and next few days to come were full of positive energy. It had been a year and a half since our first baby was born 8 weeks early. That came with 53 days in the hospital, 6 months of blood in his stool, and living the first year of his life in isolation at home due to severe immunity deficiency. But finally I felt normal. But only for a moment. Filling my thoughts with naïve first world questions, is it a girl or a boy, what will I name it,  am I showing –  but then the night came and so did the flashbacks of my previous pregnancy. I was scared. This is a normal feeling when something so traumatic has happened in your life. You may have ups and downs throughout the pregnancy, but the important part is to recognize how lucky you are to be pregnant and growing a bundle of joy! By gosh you deserve a moment of happiness.

Reaction of others. Probably the most notable part, is the reaction of others. My dear friends and family were very supportive and caring. However, you will get the odd ball who may say ‘I am surprised you went for another after all that’. I encourage you to say thank you, and perhaps put them on your acquaintance list. Honestly though, some people just don’t think when they talk. As a preemie mother graduate, you reserve the right to filter what you WANT to hear.  But do keep in mind, anyone who loves you is down right scared and is praying for you and your baby everyday.

Bedrest with a toddler. This is a tough one. The new health buzz is that bedrest hasn’t been proven to help prevent premature labour. In saying that, any preemie mother knows that is all your doctor can suggest as a last resort.  At 12 weeks I went on modified rest where I could not lift my 25 pound toddler and had to limit my standing/walking. Very difficult with a 21 month old. This will be a defining moment where you start to balance the needs of your toddler with the needs of your growing baby. Don’t feel guilty. This is short term loss for long term gain. Find strategies that work for you. For example, get a step stool so you can help your toddler get into and out of the crib. Start changing diapers on the floor. Consider early potty training. Cuddle your toddler on the couch instead of carrying him/her.  It’s amazing how quickly your toddler will adapt to the situation.

Having to ask and accept help. High risk pregnancies result in modification of your day to day activities. As mothers, we often find it difficult to accept help. You will need to ask and accept help, no matter how uncomfortable you feel. I had to watch my husband take on all my mother and wife responsibilities in the home during the last few months of my second pregnancy. Very difficult, and you can’t help but feel useless and guilty. As hard as it is, recognize you have an important role to play by protecting that growing baby and limiting your effort! Say yes to help!

Handling ongoing preemie challenges. While you are busy with being pregnant, you may find yourself still faced with ongoing challenges for your first preemie. This may be additional doctor check ups, developmental delays, etc. This is a time you must be a super mom and lean on any support your friends and family can provide you. Specifically to help you attend all the appointments for yourself and your preemie.

Efficient in your appointments. It is amazing how precise and efficient you will become in your prenatal doctor appointments. You have learned so much in your first pregnancy. You will have specific questions that deserve specific answers. If you delivered early in a previous pregnancy you must be your own advocate and get in with a high risk doctor immediately. No one will do this for you.  Sometimes you may be on waiting lists for weeks, and this simply is unacceptable. So speak up!

We do not know what the future holds, we will be strong and we will try to have the longest pregnancy we can!