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NICU Staff Recognition Day Is The Time To Show Your Appreciation With Gifts Like These

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Everyone wants a perfect birth: You'll go into labor, and within a few pushes, give birth to a healthy and beautiful baby who you'll snuggle with and take home in a couple of days. The reality, however, is a bit more complicated; with many babies spending time in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before they can go home. If you're looking express your gratitude towards the men and women who care for your baby when you can’t, these 21 gifts for nurses for NICU Staff Recognition Day will be deeply appreciated.

Unless your baby has been in the NICU, you can't really begin to understand what the staff there will come to mean to you. They become family. You know their names well, better than some of your far-flung relatives. They hold your hand and talk you off the ledge when you feel such guilt for your child being in the NICU — even though it's not your fault. They don’t raise an eyebrow when you struggle to change your newborn’s diaper due to so many wires being attached to them. You are bonded together by your one shared goal: to get your baby well and get them out of the NICU so that you can go home and life (which has been in a weird limbo up until now) can truly begin. In short, the NICU nurses and the entire staff are an interesting mélange of tough warriors and tender-loving angels to their little charges.

So in honor of NICU Staff Recognition Day (September 28), you can give the NICU staff (from nurses, social workers, and receptionists, to the custodial staff and security guards) a present to honor everything they do for their littlest patients.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

1. Before Patients, After Patients Mug & Stemless Wine Set

Hey, even nurses need a night off every now and then. This coffee and stemless wine set can keep your NICU nurse caffeinated during the day, but allow her to relax and unwind after a long day caring for babies. It’s dishwasher safe, so they can be washed easily, and comes in a gift box for a pretty presentation.

2. Nurse Angel Figurine

This decorative figurine is perfect for your nurse to display in their home. Measuring six inches, the figurine is made from polyresin and features the hand-painted words “Nurses give healing comfort, loving care, and sincere kindness” debossed on the front of the angel’s gown. In addition to angel wings, the nurse also carries a clipboard and stethoscope, too.

3. Lady Jayne Nurse Stethoscope Die-Cut Note Pad with Pen

Whether it’s taking notes on a patient (or writing down the ingredient list for that chicken marsala they’re making for dinner tonight), this sweet notepad can keep your nurse organized. It comes with 75 printed pages, and measures 4 inches by 8 inches, so it can fit into a pocket. It also comes with a pen so she won’t have to scramble to find one when she needs to jot something down.

4. Coffee, Scrubs, and Rubber Gloves Shirt

All the things that a nurse needs on printed on this cute tee shirt from Amazon: coffee, scrubs, and rubber gloves. The hashtag #nurselife completes the design, which also features stars surrounding the text, which just goes to show you what a rockstar those NICU nurses really are. The shirt is made in the USA and is preshrunk so it shouldn’t shrink up in the wash.

5. Not All Superheroes Wear Capes Sign

NICU docs are the unsung heroes of the hospital. So pay homage to your capeless crusader by gifting them this plaque, which puts into words what you really want to say. Measuring 6” x 8” x 1.5”, the wood plaque has a distinctively rustic look that will work well with any décor — or just sit pretty on the nurse’s station.

6. Nurse’s Bag

We love a good tag line, and this one: “Because badass life saver isn’t an official job title” is pretty amazing. Your badass nurse can use this bag to hold personal possessions, or even just to keep her pens in place. The bag, which is made from 100% cotton and linen, is also waterproof and features double-sided printing.

7. A Colorful Jacket Dress

After days on end wearing nothing but scrubs, this vibrant jacket dress could be just the thing she needs to feel human again. Mother-of-three Fisayo Che's African wax prints are inspired by her Nigerian roots, and dresses can also be layered over skirts, pants... or even scrubs, if you're in need of a super quick transformation. Plus, it has pockets (and there's a matching mini dress if your favorite NICU nurse has a little one who digs her style found here).

8. Nurse Coloring Book: Sweary Midnight Edition

Hey, even a nurse needs to color —and cuss— every now and again. This coloring book is specifically designed with nurses in mind. It features 40 single-sided coloring pages, so you can remove a page and frame it if you feel like it. There is a funny quote that accompanies each picture, which only nurses will understand.

9. Best Nurse Ever Travel Bag

Nurses sometimes have to carry around a lot of crap. This bag can be used to carry pens and papers, or even cosmetics for quick touch ups in between patients. It's sturdy, and (woot), it’s waterproof, too. To keep it clean, all it needs is spot cleaning with gentle soap and water. It's perfect for daily use or the rare occasions that your nurse goes on vacay.

10. Nurse Life Mask

Keep your NICU nurse safe with this sweet mask from Etsy seller DesignsByQui. The mask features the popular hashtag Nurse Life, and has a stethescope in the shape of a heart, and a heartbeat line. Fun florals complete the look of this mask, which is constructed from two layers of breathable fabric, and is washable as well.

11. I’m A Nurse, What’s Your Superpower? Mug

Whether they’re drinking coffee, tea, or water, let your NICU nurse show off some sass when they use this cute mug. It features pink ombre shading, and plenty of hearts surrounding the words. The ceramic cup holds 12 oz of liquid — just enough to get through their shift.

12. Nurse Shirt

Who doesn’t heart tiny humans? Let your NICU nurse show their love for their littlest patients with this tee shirt sold by Etsy seller EmbroideRAY. The seller offers free shipping with orders over $35. Since it’s a unisex tee, it has a looser fit, and the heather grey option is made from a cotton/poly blend.

13. Special Nurse Wish Bracelet

Thank your nurse for everything that she’s done for your baby with this sweet bracelet. You’re supposed to put the bracelet on and make a wish. When the waxed cotton cord frays and breaks, your wish is supposed to come true. Your nurse will know how much their efforts meant to you every time they look at their wrist.

14. Sterling Silver Feather Necklace for Nurses

When you see how tirelessly a NICU nurse works to care for your baby, well, you’ll know that they’re an angel. So gift them this sweet sterling silver necklace that features two entwined feathers to show how special they are to you. It’s made from real sterling silver and doesn’t contain nickel. It comes complete with a gift bag, tissue paper, and card to give to your favorite medical professional.

15. Nurses' Compression Socks

When you’re on your feet for so many hours, you need something to alleviate the pressure. Enter these compression socks, which feature hearts and heartbeats — all while saving your NICU doctor's poor legs and feet. The snug socks work by gently compressing the legs to encourage better circulation, and reduce tiredness and achiness, too. It comes in a 4-pack to keep your medical professional feeling comfy.

16. A Necklace To Show How Much She's Loved

The NICU nurses who show your little one such careful care are people you'll grow to love as much (if not more!) than your very own family. This delicate necklace will show your favorite NICU nurse how you feel and it's available in 18k Rose Gold, 18K Gold or Genuine Rhodium (Silver). And perhaps best of all, a portion of each purchase from this female, Black-owned company supports the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorder Center in Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

17. A Stunning Head Scarf

This lightweight, 100% habotai silk scarf can be worn as a headwrap, scarf around the neck, wrap around the shoulders, sarong around the waist or a even a top (but it's a seriously perfect headwrap). Dip-dyed in small batches, every scarf is slightly different; the same label makes super comfy kimonos and wrap pants, too.

18. Fall Gift Tin Frosted Assortment

You just can’t go wrong with cookies. So give the custodial staff something to sink their teeth into with this delish assortment of fall-themed cookies from Cheryl’s. It comes with 16 cookies such as buttercream frosted cinnamon pumpkin cookies, fudge buttercream frosted devil’s food cookies, and (swoon), salted caramel chocolate cookies.

19. Love My Little Patients Shirt

It takes a lot of patience (and love) to care for the hospital’s littlest patients. So whether you’re looking to gift this sweet shirt from Etsy seller LunarHabitsApparel to an ophthalmologist, fellow, or pediatrician in the NICU, they’ll be able to wear it with pride.

20. Because Residency Wine Glass

Give your favorite resident a reason to enjoy their days off with this adorable wine glass from 2CraftyChicks2 on Etsy. It can be personalized with the person’s name on the back, ($12.95), and is made from glass, so it should be hand-washed.

21. Medical Staff Appreciation Gift Keychain

For the medical staffer that’s always searching for their keys, this adorbs keychain from JewelryEveryday can be a great gift. Made from zinc alloy, the handmade keychain features a stethoscope, a mask, and a syringe, with each charm measuring about 1 inch long.