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Sometimes, life can throw you a curveball, despite how prepared you are. This is especially true for parents during the time of delivery. One such challenge is the baby deciding to arrive way earlier than scheduled. There could be multiple reasons for this. Most babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy may need additional time in the hospital, in a dedicated unit called the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Newborn babies in the NICU need additional care in terms of nutrition, clothes, attention, and medical support. Babies born before the 37th week of gestation age are called preterm babies or preemies.
Indian National Health Portal (NHP) reports that out of 27 million babies born every year in the country, about 3.5 million are preterm babies. According to WHO, 1 in 10 babies born globally come out before full term.
In this article, learn all about NICU-supported newborn baby clothes and when to introduce them to infants still under medical care.
Do babies in the NICU need clothes right away?
Once a baby is born and taken to the NICU, they usually wouldn’t need clothes right away. They are in their diapers as long as they must be assisted by medical lines and tubes. After a while, once the baby becomes stable, the medical assistants inform the parents to bring in clothes for the little one.
Preemies weigh less than newborns, so regular baby clothes may not be the right fit for these fighters. Looser clothes pose the risk of choking and also leave the baby uncomfortable.
Some of these newborn clothes come with buttons, zippers, and other fasteners that may be unsafe for extremely tiny human beings.
Thankfully for parents, many Indian brands have now come up with safe, gentle, and right-sized preemie newborn baby clothes that look beautiful, fit well, and, most importantly, keep the little one safe.
What sizes to look for while buying NICU-friendly baby clothes?
There are two reasons why a newborn could end up in the NICU – preterm delivery or health complications that arise after full-term delivery. In the latter case, the infant may fit into most newborn baby cloth sizes. So you can pick up regular NB sizes (newborn sizes) for the baby.
For preterm babies, the NB sizes could be loose and uncomfortable. Therefore, do look for preemie and micro-preemie sizes, depending on the baby’s weight. The following is the general size chart to follow.
Suitable for babies weighing (lb)
Suitable for babies weighing (kg)
Features of NICU-friendly baby clothes
What should you look for in NICU-friendly baby clothes?
Without a second thought, choose cotton over any other material for preemie newborn baby clothes. If possible, pick organic cotton over regular cotton. This makes a world of difference in the quality of clothes you end up with and the comfort the clothes provide.
If you aren’t unsure what the difference between cotton and organic cotton is, I would greatly recommend reading this blog here.
Ease of use
I strongly advise avoiding clothes with traditional buttons and zippers. These can hurt the little one’s skin when they are carried or moved around. Snaps and magnetic closures are the best, as these are easy to handle.
Definitely don’t pick clothes that need to be worn through the head. It would be extremely challenging to dress and undress the baby in this case. Kimono tops are super comfortable to use in the hospital and afterward, too.
One of the biggest tasks in any home with a newborn baby is the laundry. While it is definitely better if you handwash these newborn baby clothes, this isn’t always practical or possible due to lack of time.
So choose clothes that can be safely machine washed. Some of the baby clothes get really rough and shrink after machine washing. These may not be the best pick.
All of Nature’s Cuddle’s clothes can be machine washed in gentle cycles. The dyes are natural and hypoallergenic, and the material is designed to get softer with every wash.
It is highly recommended that you pick from brands that offer newborn clothes in different sizes. However, here is a solid piece of advice from a practicing NICU nurse.
“Sometimes, parents buy formfitting clothes for premature babies, and these little ones have cords and tubes attached. This makes the fit even tighter and uncomfortable. If the baby is medically assisted, find slightly looser clothes so they can go over these cords and tubes comfortably.”
This definitely makes sense.
You could also pick stretch and grow fabrics. These are still made of cotton, but the weaving allows for comfortable stretching of the material.
Nature’s Cuddle preemie newborn baby cloth choice
- Kimonos are open-styled tops that can be put on while the baby is lying flat.
- Very easy to put on and take off.
- Kimonos come in onesie style, with snap-ons at the bottom.
- Organic cotton material with subtle and pleasing colors and designs.
- Baby bottoms can be used when cords and tubes prevent the use of tops.
- These bottoms are strategically designed to be worn over regular or cloth diapers.
- These bottoms have elastic and extremely soft leg holes.
- Made of organic cotton, these baby bottoms are unisex.
- Jablas are a modern-day version of traditional Indian babywear.
- Jablas are made of organic cotton and are sleeveless pieces of clothes.
- The snap-on closure makes it easy to put on and take off the top with the baby lying flat.
- This is one of our most popular newborn baby clothes, especially in summer.
- Our footed pants come in ribbed and regular designs and are perfect to cover those tiny feet up during the nights.
- These pants don’t have rough elastic and is soft and very comfortable.
- Perfect for little babies that keep ripping the socks out at night.
- Our bunny rug jersey blanket is a perfect swaddle cloth for preemies and newborns.
- Made of 100% organic cotton, this 100 cm X 100 cm swaddle cloth is perfect to create a snug swaddle effect.
- This organic cloth is completely breathable and is single layered.
- The prints and the dyes used are hypoallergenic and eco-friendly.
Babies born before the full term need slightly extra care in the first few months, and parents and medical experts do everything they can to ensure the child grows to become a healthy little infant.
Picking NICU-friendly newborn baby clothes is one small way parents can ensure their little ones are comfortable and safe during and after their hospital stint.