Volunteers Make Tiny Valentine’s Day Outfits For NICU Babies
Babies born too small, too soon, or with a rare medical issue head to the neonatal intensive care unit, which can be terrifying for their parents. Moms and dads have to wait while doctors help their tiny babies grow, which is why March of Dimes and volunteers at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City did something extra special for these NICU families for Valentine’s Day.
Each baby was given a hand-knitted hat featuring a Valentine’s Day theme that was made by volunteers. Then photographers who’ve had their own children in the NICU took photos of the tiny newborns for their moms and dads. We think the pictures turned out spectacularly.
March of Dimes volunteers also arranged for families to exchange handmade valentines. NICU staff made adorable baby feet cards that were from the babies to their parents. Look how happy this mom and dad are to celebrate the holiday with their little ones.
“Every day having a child is in the NICU can be frightening and uncertain, but holidays are especially tough, as families miss the normal joys of celebrations at home,” explained Rebecca Keunen, March of Dimes NICU Family Support Coordinator. To help parents regain some feeling of normalcy hospital staff helped them write love letters to their tiniest valentines.
James Wilkinson’s mom and dad wrote: “Happy Valentine’s Day James! You are the best Valentine we have ever received. We love you more than we could ever explain and can’t wait for all the fun memories our little family is sure to create. Your 4 legged sisters can’t wait to get you home!”
The tiny triplets below received this letter: “To our Sweet Valentines, On this Valentine’s Day, we are so fortunate and blessed to have not one, or two, but three tiny new valentines to love….We are so lucky to be your parents. We couldn’t have ever imagined how strong our love for you could be. On your first Valentine’s Day, may all this love help you to grow and keep getting stronger so we can all be together at our home soon! Love, Mommy & Daddy XOXOXO.”
Babies born prematurely can face various health challenges including breathing problems, vision loss, cerebral palsy, and intellectual delays, according to the March of Dimes. Waiting to see how their babies develop can be very stressful for NICU families. Being able to commemorate the holiday is a welcome relief from the stressful situation.
“Happy Valentine’s Day Ellisyn,” one baby girl’s parents wrote. “You have been loved and prayed for and cheered on by our family, friends and strangers. We are so proud of you and so thankful. Love, Mom, Dad, Harper and Weston.”