What To Bring to the NICU

Leaving your baby behind in the neonatal unit (NNU) can give rise to many feelings: overwhelming love, fear, anger, detachment, helplessness – to name a few! When you cannot be with your baby, you can still ensure they have everything they may need while you’re away

What Your Baby Will Need:

All babies will need:

  • Nappies: While regular nappies are widely available in most supermarkets, you may need to go to a pharmacy for the smallest of nappies
  • Barrier cream: Check with your ‘named’ nurse to confirm suitability, but Vaseline, Sudocrem or other branded creams can often be used
  • Cotton wool
  • Baby wipes

Babies may not initially require clothing: they may be nursed exposed in the incubator to allow for close observation. As your baby progresses, they may be transferred into a cot and will need:


  • Vests and babygrows.
  • Smaller babies will also need cardigans.The unit can provide some clothing for your baby, but there is a limited supply which is generally suitable for smaller babies.
  • Please consider getting clothes that button up at the front, for ease of access to your baby’s body. Keep the clothes simple and comfortable.
  • The nurses will place all dirty clothing in a bag by your baby’s cot for you to take home.


  • You may like to bring in your own blanket for your baby; although this is not necessary. Should you choose to bring your own blanket, please ensure that it’s cellular and labeled with your baby’s name

Unnecessary Items:


  • Please do not bring cuddly toys or balloons to the NNU. Any such items brought into the NNU will be placed in a plastic bag and will remain outside your baby’s sleeping area. They have the potential to spread infection and are not necessary in the NNU.

Items for Parents:

  • Notebook/Diary and pen: Many parents find it helpful to write down the information given by the doctors and nurses. It can be useful when relaying information back to relatives and as a record of each day’s events so you can check the developmental milestones.
  • Camera/phone for photos and videos: Phones and cameras are allowed in the NNU, but please adhere to the guidelines set out in the Infection Control section
  • Loose clothing: Loose clothes that open at the front are very useful when doing kangaroo care with your baby.
  • Hand held mirror: A mirror can help you to see your baby’s face when doing kangaroo care.
  • Photographs/Paintings/Religious Items: Please ask your nurse about the most appropriate way of displaying these if you would like to have them in the NNU.
  • Cloth Tokens: A piece of cloth or muslin that has been in contact with your skin can be helfpul. Leave it with your baby to remind them of you when you cannot be there.

If You Are Expressing Breastmilk:

  • Cooler bag: Cooler bags are essential for transporting expressed breast milk to the hospital.
  • Labels, breast funnels, and bottles:  When expressing breastmilk (EBM) in the hospital and at home, you will need labels, funnels, and bottles. The hospital will supply these items and they are available on a daily basis.  Parents are asked to return used equipment by placing it in the appropriate box in the Expressing Room. Each day, the equipment is taken for cleaning and sterilising so that they can be re-used.
  • Nipple shields: If required. There is a limited supply in the unit.
  • Nipple cream: If required.
  • Bottles/Teats: If bottle-feeding your baby, all bottles and teats are supplied by the NNU and are disposed of after use.

Getting Started in the NICU

Things to know about the Neonatal Unit

Infection Control

Ways to avoid the spreading of infection

What To Bring to the NICU

Things you and your baby may need in the NICU