As with anything, personal life experiences shape and define a person. Some say you can’t truly understand something until it happens to you. And after my recent life experience of having my third (and technically term) baby go to the NICU, the NICU has been added to my list of causes to donate to. Lafayette is home to two major hospitals: Ochsner Lafayette General and Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s and Children’s. Both of these hospitals accept donations to their NICU. Below is the list of acceptable donations as well as a local non-profit that donates to both hospitals.
Swaddles/Receiving Blankets – aside from the traditional use of swaddling a baby, swaddles are also used as bedsheets in the NICU. Bedding is changed nightly in the NICU. While they often use the standard white swaddle with blue stripe trim that is stocked at both hospitals as bedsheets, there is the option of using a swaddle as well, if available. It made my heart happy to see a more personalized bed for my child when he was in the NICU, selected with care and love from his NICU nurses. You can even sew your own receiving blankets to donate by sewing a rectangle 30 inches wide by 36 inches long.
Onesies (sizes preemie, newborn, 0-3 months)- when the babies are able to, they can be dressed in a onesie. Onesies allow monitors to stay attached yet add a bit of fun to the baby. Outfits get changed nightly along with bedsheets.
Hats – Newborns often are seen wearing hats to help regulate their body temperature. While the hospital does generally have hats available, wearing a hat with a specialized print or pattern atypical to the standard hospital hat helps give the baby a unique look.
Breastmilk – Ochsner Lafayette is also our local breast milk bank donation drop off. You can read about how to become a breastmilk donor here.
Finally, a local non profit Steps to Heaven is based out of Abbeville, LA. This non profit sews receiving blankets, gowns for NICU patients as well as gowns, remembrance pillows and pocket blankets for the loss of a child. They accept donations of fabric, stuffing, and ribbons.