Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Neonatal Casting

I was searching for some preemie pictures when I happened upon this article about neonatal hand and foot casting in the NBICU.  This article was written by the doctors at the hospital where my preemie lived for over three months in the NBICU.  And, it’s the same hospital where my first son was delivered at 21w2d, weighing 12 ounces, and these hand and foot molds were made and given to us to remember and cherish our sweet boy.  We have displayed them in our home and I still cherish them as tangible evidence of our son’s short life.  They’re very precious.

The article states that these molds were made for preemies that survived and for preemies who passed away, but we did not get these for our 27-weeker.

Follow the link to read the article:  Neonatal Hand Casting Method

These pictures are of my son’s molds.

If you’ve never seen anything like this, maybe you could refer this article to the directors of your NICU and encourage them to do it.  It’s a wonderful way to remember how tiny your baby was at birth, and it’s fascinating for children to see especially if they can compare the molds to a full-term baby.

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. This really would be cool to have. It would really help put into perspective for people exactly how small a 1 lb. baby’s hand actually is. There were days though, when I wasn’t even allowed to lift the blanket over the isolette and look at Samantha. They said she couldn’t handle the stress of it somedays. So I bet there’s NO way they would’ve done the casting. But it sure would be a fun thing to have now. 🙂 Interesting aticle!!

    • Very good point. They could not have done the casting with my preemie girl at birth, either, I’m sure. I wonder when they typically make the molds for surviving preemies, or if they ever do?

  2. I think the problem here is that the NICU staff doesn’t have the time to do such a thing.

    For starters, the less stress on the preemie the better. Secondly, they are there to care for your child, not conduct an art class.

    Although I like the idea, I don’t find it to be a reasonable request for a NICU. This is something we might try at home once our daughter is home from the NICU. She will after all still be tiny.

  3. That is absolutely wonderful!!
    All I have for my daughter is a hand print mold for babies first christmas, she was almost 2 months and her hands where still smaller than a friends full term baby born the day before.

    What a precious amazing id…ea! I believe all Nicus and SCN should have those.

  4. This is truly amazing. I wish I could have gotten this for my son, he was born 2lbs 7.8oz. His hands and feet were so tiny, but I do have the footprints as a memory.

  5. Yes when one of my twins passed away they did it for me, my mother an I are making a shadow box to display some of her special things in….

  6. My daughter died the 10th of november 9 pounds 8 oz of Arpkd and They made me two sets, and i cried cause one of her hands fell and broke. They never did any for my preemie( not one of the twins the twins were full term . . .)

  7. Yes the hospital here did one of my 24 weeker twin son that passed away. My dad took them and had them gold plated so nothing would happen to them! Priceless!! My husband took the footprints on paper we got and my living daughters hand prints and got a tatoo on his arm of her hands and his feet with wings. Precious!

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