Friday, August 29, 2008

Give it a Lot of Thought, Not a Lot of Cash

If you've just learned of a friend or family member who has given birth to a very premature baby, you may wonder what to bring. Some of the traditional offerings just don't fit for a family who faces months in a hospital. Hot casserole? Nowhere to heat it... and kind of messy. Sweet little newborn outfit? An OK choice, but keep in mind that the parents may likely not be allowed to dress their baby for weeks, maybe more (it has to do with maintaining consistent body temp). Cute nursery toys and decor? Odds are fairly good that the proud parents haven't even finished the nursery at this point. What to bring, what to bring?

My advice? Don't break the bank. Especially if you think you may decide to pick up one of those darling outfits or toys later on. Here are some things that are simple, but thoughtful, and likely to be appreciated:

Entertainment (Parents of tiny preemies spend a lot of time sitting by their baby's bedside, not able to hold their infant yet. The beeps and alarms make it too distracting to try to read, but having something to keep your hands busy is very welcome. Personally, I crocheted tiny hats and blankets. My hubby preferred puzzles.):
  1. crosswords, sudoku, or word finds
  2. yarn and crochet hook/knitting needles
  3. journal
Nourishment (I touched on this in more detail here, but here are some really quick, portable choices) :

  1. pretzels, crackers, or nuts divided in small servings
  2. cereal or granola bars
  3. bottled water and juice
Encouragement (You can't be there all the time-- show how much you care and support the parent with one of these options.):

  1. book of devotions or poetry (these are short enough to maintain focus and read)
  2. supportive card or letter
  3. express a willingness to receive a phone call at any hour if the need arises
Fulfilling needs from any of these categories will provide very real help to a family in crisis. You may even have some of these things rolling around your home already. It does not have to be fancy. Just give it a little thought... that's all it takes to brighten someone's day.

For more frugal ideas, check out Frugal Friday, hosted at Crystal's Biblical Womanhood.


Sherry said...

Great ideas! I just posted on baby gifts. LOL!

Brooke said...

individual sized snack packs are a great idea! :)

Anonymous said...

Those are great ideas. What a wonderful ministry your site is!