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Making memories in the NICU: National Prematurity Awareness Month

Posted at 2:10 PM, Nov 20, 2023
  • Ashley McClinton tells us about her journey in the NICU with her baby boy Buddy
  • Taylor Lytle is a nurse at Methodist Women's Hospital and tells us about the meaning behind the scrapbook pages
  • Video shows milestones babies in the NICU have had along with the strands of strength beads


This year is the 20th anniversary of prematurity awareness month. I'm Jill Lamkins your Northwest Omaha reporter here at Methodist Women's hospital where NICU nurses not only help care for premature babies around the clock but they also help families capture milestones through these.

"So he's in the three-pound club…he's turned two months old here as well…and then here's his football sign…"

Ashley McClinton’s baby boy, Buddy, was born on Labor Day at just 24 weeks. A baby is considered premature if they are born before 37 weeks. So, Buddy's been in the NICU at Methodist for almost three months now.

"It's really hard to build memories when you're not at home or you weren't expecting this. So many of us here, you weren't expecting this to be a part of your journey."

And that's why Methodist nurses started making these to help create memories for families like Ashley's.

"A lot of our families can't be bedside all the time so just creating those moments for them…allowing them to take something home with them."

Taylor Lytle has been a nurse at Methodist for two and a half years.

As a NICU nurse, she says they have a lot of responsibilities, but that putting these scrapbook pages together for families is vitally important to them.

"We always optimize doing patient care first."

And it's something that Ashley is thankful for.

"Being in the NICU is really hard and when you come around the corner and see signs for your baby signifying their milestones or special days…it just makes it feel a little less scary."

The nurses also make these things called strands of strength to help families remember milestones their babies made while under the hospital's care.

"From the day they're born to when they leave, we just have a bead for every kind of thing throughout the NICU."

But no matter what the memorabilia, the goal is to capture moments to celebrate the little joys in their little ones' journey.

"Even though times were so scary when he was so little, it's going to be so cool to be able to look back and remember."

Along with the strands of strength, each baby will also receive this memento in honor of prematurity awareness month. In Elkhorn, I'm your Northwest Omaha neighborhood reporter, Jill Lamkins for 3 News Now.