Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital opens new baby boutique for NICU parents 

Boutique offers new donated items to parents and siblings of babies admitted to neonatal intensive care unit, allowing for 'normalcy during a very challenging time'

The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick has opened the Bless U Baby Boutique, a shop stocked with donated items and gifts for parents of babies who have been admitted to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

In partnership with Saint Peter’s Foundation, the shop, located across from the NICU, is filled with new toys, books, outfits, hats, blankets and personal care items. All the items are given to parents free of charge.

The idea for the boutique came from by Dolly Allen, director of adult emergency services at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, while she was in her previous role as nurse manager of the hospital’s NICU.

“I have seen that the parents of unwell or premature babies often get cheated out of the best part of being new parents. They sometimes don’t have the opportunity to have baby showers, and holding their babies is sometimes delayed because of illness,” Allen said. “The Bless U Baby Boutique offers a first-in-class experience for NICU parents and siblings, providing a sense of normalcy during a very challenging time.”

“Families with a baby in the NICU are often caught off-guard by their baby’s early arrival. This has left them little to no time to shop for those essential items needed to care for their baby at home,” Allen said. “In our Bless U Baby Boutique, families can feel a sense of normalcy as they select items for their baby while thinking about the day they get to take them home.”

In addition to the donated item parents can select, they can also choose a pair of booties or mittens. Every family is also given a set of rosary beads. Through the boutique, parents who have other children at home can shop for a toy to bring home to the baby’s sibling, helping them realize their importance in their growing family.

All items are packaged with luxury wrapping, adding even more to the experience for new parents.

“Some families have support, while others have none. Saint Peter’s Bless U Baby Boutique provides an equitable experience for all NICU parents,” Allen said. “You may not have the means or resources to go shopping, but you can come here and enjoy a similar experience in this boutique. You can make some choices for yourself and have fun doing it. This is so important for these parents who have so little control over what’s happening to them.”

“Family-centered care is the gold standard of care at Saint Peter’s. By offering this shop to the families of babies in the NICU, we hope to bring them a sense of celebration and joy during a stressful time,” Dr. Mark Hiatt, director of Saint Peter’s NICU and chief of the Division of Neonatal Medicine at the Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, said.

Saint Peter’s is home to a state-designated Regional Perinatal Center that provides an exceptional level of care to women experiencing a high-risk pregnancy and operates a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where premature or fragile newborns receive the highest level of specialized care.

To make a monetary donation in support of the NICU or the Bless U Baby Boutique, please click here.