In my experience the super-tiny preemies -- still in the hospital -- really don't need anything. We were only allowed to bring in a couple of toys (to make the isolette look more homey) and some stuff for me to do (books, puzzles, etc). So really stuff to buy during the NICU stay I think should focus on the needs of the parents: books, phone cards, gift certificates, etc.
But when it is time to bring the baby home (4-5 pound range), that was a strange experience.... we had a crib he couldn't use yet, diapers that we could have used as blankets, clothes that looked like they were for a giant! Instead, we needed some little clothes & diapers, a breast pump (expensive!), etc.
Since this family has an 8 yr old, I also wonder (not having experienced this) what she would need: videos and games, a fun day out with mommy's out-of-town friend, etc maybe.
Local coordinator for Pittsburgh area
'Parents of Preemies' co-moderator
Survivor of Preeclampsia, HELLP Syndome, & preemie parenting
Future adoptive mom
Aaron (28 weeker, 5/2/02)
Kevin - DH