NICU babies at Forrest General celebrate Mardi Gras in festive attire


HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Employees dressed babies in Forrest General’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in festive attire for Mardi Gras.

While the NICU is a serious place, employees in that department go out of their way to make special times of the year a little bit brighter for their patients and their families.

A window in the waiting room is decorated with signage in Mardi Gras colors and once inside the unit, balloons, beads, and other items mimic the gold, green and purple colors of the season.

Matthew Updegraff, RN, is part of the NICU team and understands how stressful a NICU admission is for a family.

“When a holiday is approaching, we start brainstorming ideas of fun things to do,” he said. “Since Ashley is the only one that crochets, we usually get her busy on the latest project while we come up with other things. 

He said parents always love photos, so the team typically tries to incorporate that into the plan. 

“Mardi Gras is one of my favorite times of year so we decided to do something a little different for our patients,” Updegraff said. “Our NICU is focused on family-centered care, and this gives us a unique opportunity to incorporate that into what we do. This is a stressful job, so it’s fun to add extra projects like this from time to time.”

While the seasonal creations add a festive touch to the NICU, they are also important in helping the babies with heat regulation. External sources like blankets, hats and such help these babies keep their body temperatures up.

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