A couple of weeks ago, I shared information about some of the organizations that provide a place for parents of hospitalized children to stay when their babies are receiving medical care far from home. Of course, the financial burden on families is not limited to the cost of housing. Even when a baby is hospitalized near enough the family’s home that parents can make the trip to the hospital and back each day, the cost of gas, meals, and childcare for older siblings adds up quickly. There are many organizations that offer financial support to help cover those expenses. Here are some groups to look to if you need help making ends meet after giving birth to a premature baby:

As with questions about housing, the first person parents should talk to about financial assistance is a NICU social worker or family liaison. There are many local support organizations across the country that work closely with individual hospitals to provide gift cards and vouchers for NICU families. If there’s one in your area, your social worker can guide you through the process of requesting help.

Project Sweet Peas is a family support organization that provides care packages, peer-to-peer support, information, and financial assistance to families with premature babies nationwide. Their NICU Family Financial Assistance Fund provides monthly grants to help parents manage the many expenses of having a baby in the NICU. You can find more information about applying for a grant, or supporting the fund with a donation, on their website.

NICU Helping Hands is a preemie parent support organization that offers many services to families, including education, emotional support, and financial assistance. Their Family Assistance Program provides gift cards to families to cover the cost of groceries, restaurant meals, and gas while their baby is in the NICU.

Miracle Babies provides information for parents, support for research in the field of premature birth, and financial support for families in 15 hospitals in California and the Atlanta area. Their goal is to help with the cost of transportation, meals, and childcare to ease the stress of financial concerns, enabling parents to be with their babies, bonding with and caring for them. You can find out more about program specifics and contact information here.

These are just a few of the many organizations providing financial assistance to NICU families. If you'd like to make a donation to help parents in this way, check with you local hospital to find out if there's a group they work with. Little Giraffe Foundation is another  national organization that funds grants to support preemie parents, and is worth a look if you'd like to contribute. Have another suggestion? Let us know about you favorite preemie parent support organizations.