BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – As a NICU nurse at Woman’s Hospital, Darian Buquet is always on duty, closely watching over the babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

“Many of our families aren’t prepared to have NICU stay at all,” said Buquet. “Sometimes, the premature births happen without any notice.”

It’s why every holiday season, she collects and donates essential items for the NICU that will help the babies grow stronger during their stay, which can sometimes last up to nine months. Some of those donations, like developmental toys, can make a difference.

“It’s really awesome to see the family’s appreciation for all of the above and beyond we do for their babies, even when they aren’t at the bedside. They know that they are taken care of the same way that they would be loved if they were at home with their parents,” added Buquet.

During a NICU stay, as a baby grows, nurses put them in swings and bouncers to help them build the muscles they need before they can go home.

“Sometimes, our families, like I said, are here four months, eight months, and sometimes even a year,” said Amy Crochet, neonatal care coordinator for the NICU at Woman’s Hospital. “It’s hard if they are trying to work and be here for their baby. Sometimes, they will quit their job. So, they don’t have the financial means to buy the things that they need, so we supply them for them.”

It’s why they rely on donations from others to help these babies get better so they can go home with their families.

“NICU is a roller coaster ride. You have good days, bad days. You can take one step forward and two steps back with your baby, so just having these small items just puts a smile on their face, and just shows that the staff really cares. We really want the best for the families,” explained Crochet.

CLICK HERE to donate.

If you have questions about what to donate, you can call: 225-924-8720

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