Babies come with a lot of gear. NICU babies sometimes come with even more.
When my baby was discharged from the NICU not only did I bring him home, but also a bunch of medical equipment, medications, and breast pump parts. When we arrived from the hospital there was a big box of medical supplies waiting for us at the front door, and a huge bag of prescriptions on the shelf at the pharmacy.
I was ready to settle in at home, after an extended NICU stay. I didn’t want our home to look anything like a hospital. So in a desperate attempt to limit my exposure to the medical environment we had been dealing with for two months, I dumped his feeding tube equipment into a clear plastic bin and shoved it into the closet of his nursery.
I quickly discovered however, that although the medical stuff was hidden and out-of-sight, it was impractical to my new life as a medical momma. I needed a supply system that worked well and maintained the cozy feeling of our home.
So I cleared out a cabinet in the kitchen and dedicated it to my son’s feeding tube supplies, medicines, and breast pump parts. If you are limited on cabinet space you may have to clear out a portion of your cupboard, pantry, drawer, or get creative some other way. Whatever you decide, the key is to have everything in the same general location. That way you don’t have to frantically search for supplies if you are dealing with a medically urgent problem or an especially hungry baby. Also, put things in a place that makes sense. For example, feeding supplies and breast pump parts work better in the kitchen than the closet, trust me I ran back and forth for too long. I also catheterize my son, so I keep those supplies under the bathroom sink. All of the extra supplies I put in his closet. He has taken up a lot of storage space in our house, but it’s worth it to me to make his things easy to access, yet out-of-the-way.
Once I had some space cleared, here are a few of the things I used to get organized:
Pink hospital basins. Yours may be a different color, but you know what I mean. They are the tubs you use in the NICU to bathe a baby or wash breast pump parts. (See the top shelf in the above picture.) They’re the perfect size for washing breast pump parts and syringes, and for stashing away respiratory meds/machines or other baby supplies. I still keep one in our kitchen sink at all times. Throughout the day I dump in dirty feeding tubes, syringes, and bottles. When it’s halfway full, I start cleaning and sterilizing. That way, I have clean supplies ready when I need them.
Grass countertop drying rack. I love the clean and simple look of this grass drying rack. It’s perfect for drying bottles, syringes, tubes, and toys. And it looks cute and fairly inconspicuous sitting on my counter top. I also put a small grass drying rack in my cabinet and allow bottles to finish drying upside down in storage.
Thirty-One tote. This is called the Thirty-One Littles Carry All Caddy. It’s almost as if this compact Thirty-One caddy was designed for my son’s medications. It can fit from about six to eight medium-sized prescription bottles. It has a handle which makes it easy for me to pull out of the cabinet and grab the medicine I need at any given point during the day. It’s also easy to stuff inside a larger bag if I’m on the go.
Drawer organizers. These drawer sized bins are great to hide away spoons, chewy tubes, and other feeding supplies. I like that they separate my son’s things from the rest of the contents in my drawer. Again, it just makes it easier to find what I’m looking for.
Stackable bins with drawers. I have a stackable storage bin with six drawers in the closet of my son’s nursery. This is what I call my supply cabinet. It works far better than the big storage bin I started out with. It’s convenient because I can see what’s inside and easily pull open a drawer to retrieve what I need.
Storage baskets. Baskets are a no-brainer. I love baskets because they are easy to reach inside and they look cute if you leave them around the house. No baby nursery is complete without some decorative baskets filled with all the essential creams, diapers, burp cloths, and wipes for your baby.
When you have a baby, you can predict a lot of the baby gear you’ll need: onesies, pack ‘n play, baby monitor, bouncer chair, rattles and swaddle blankets. But many preemies, and babies with special needs, come with extra medical supplies, equipment, and medication you could have never imagined. And even if you had, these are the type of supplies you can’t simply put on your baby registry. As you get your rhythm at home, you’ll find ways to keep it all organized which makes it far less stressful.
No matter how you end up organizing, you’ll likely be thankful to be at home, instead of in the hospital.
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