Our Journey Bead Program gives you the chance to document your baby’s stay in the NICU through colorful beads that tell their story. Over time, the necklace you create will become a true testimony of your baby’s individual experience in the NICU.

How does it work?

Our Journey Bead Program is completely voluntary. If you wish to participate, please let your social worker or one of the parent support coordinators know, and they will help you get started.

Each participating family will receive:

  • A length of cord for the beads
  • A CHKD Admission Bead
  • Letter beads for your baby’s name

Any social worker or parent support coordinator can help you add beads to your collection when they are earned. At the time of discharge, you will complete your string with beads for passing the car seat test, a graduation cap and number of days in the NICU.

Please use your journey beads to help explain to friends and family all ups and downs of your baby’s NICU roller coaster ride.

Journey Beads

  •  Letter beads for baby's name
  •  PT/OT/ST/Child Life
  •  IVH/PVL
  •  Blue bead/red bead
  •  Car seat test
  •  First eye exam
  •  First diaper change
  •  Heart/birth defect/chromosomal abnormality
  •  Infection
  •  First kangaroo care
  •  Hypothermia
  •  NEC
  •  First time holding
  •  ELBW bead (under 1,000 grams at birth)
  •  Surgery
  •  Pumping
  •  Prematurity bead
  •  Surgical device
  •  First bottle
  •  Full-term baby bead
  •  Major holiday in the NICU
  •  First time breastfeeding
  •  Multiples
  •  Spiritual
  •  SSI registration
  •  Sibling beads
  •  Baptism/Christening
  •  First clothes
  •  Respiratory support
  •  CPR/Discharge class
  •  First bath
  •  Blood transfusion
  •  Adoption/Foster Care bead
  •  Open crib
  •  IV/PVL
  •  NICU graduation
  •  General milestone
  • Procedure
  •  Number beads for days in NICU