When Love Comes Early: A Pampers’ NICU Nurse Becomes a NICU Mother

Amy Wiford helped develop Pampers Preemie Swaddlers — a diaper specially designed for babies born prematurely — while she was pregnant with her own baby.

“It never occurred to me throughout my pregnancy that my son could potentially wear the product that I was working on,” said Wiford.

Before joining P&G, Wiford spent more than a decade working in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) as a nurse, bringing that knowledge to the Pampers Preemie Swaddlers team designing game-changing diapers for the littlest babies.

Pampers Preemie Swaddlers

Pampers Preemie Swaddlers

Diaper changes in the NICU present unique challenges, like fitting a diaper around delicate skin and tubes and putting the diaper on in unconventional positions.

The latest Pampers Preemie Swaddlers innovation launched in 2020 and was developed by a team of neonatal specialists, like Wiford, and P&G baby care scientists after 10,000 hours of research. She says it’s biggest highlights are:

  • The reversible design delivering the first of its kind reversible diaper product. It doesn’t have a designated front or back, enabling diaper changes in any position that baby is in.
  • Re-attachable tabs, which can be completely removed, stretched and refastened at any angle for a customized fit around hospital tubes and wires.
  • Flexible Contoured Core that compresses for proper leg and hip positioning.
  • A proprietary Absorb Away Liner™ that quickly pulls urine and runny stool away from fragile skin.

Shortly before the new diapers were made available to hospitals, Wiford was admitted to the hospital in preterm labor.

“I didn’t realize I was going to deliver him that day. I also didn’t realize I was going to have an emergency C-section,” recalls Wiford.

Wiford delivered baby Theo at 28 weeks. Despite her 10 years as a NICU nurse, nothing prepared her for the experience on the other side of the isolette.

Baby Theo in the NICU as mom watches

Baby Theo in the NICU as mom watches.

“I wasn’t able to walk to my son’s bedside and turn off his alarms. I wasn’t able to reposition his CPAP, even though I knew what I was doing.”

One thing she was able to do — change his diaper.

“I was able to change my son’s diaper within the first 12 hours of life, which was a normalizing behavior for me. I wasn’t able to hold him until he was three days old. So, being able to get into the isolette, change his diaper and do something that my maternal instincts were telling me to, was so meaningful.”

Wiford called her colleagues and asked them to bring the Pampers Preemie Swaddlers diapers to the hospital, so she was able to use the same diapers she helped develop.

“It was just an eye-opening experience to stand at a very similar isolette with my son inside and be able to change his diaper with the same diaper I had been working on,” shared Wiford

Wiford’s introduction to motherhood was a 99-day stay in the NICU.

“Until you’re a NICU parent, you don’t really understand what it’s like to be in that position,” said Wiford. “There really are no words to prepare someone for it — the stress, the anxiety, the fears that you experience in that position are just very real.”

Each year, about 1 in 10 babies in the United States is born prematurely, according to March of Dimes. Premature babies may not be fully developed at birth, resulting in more health problems and the need to stay in the hospital longer than babies born later.

The Pampers team is always working on innovation as medical advances continue.

Now, Theo is working on a new milestone — potty training! Wiford describes life as “very busy” and is thankful for all the beautiful chapters of motherhood.

Theo is on to new milestones and adventures!

Theo is on to new milestones and adventures!

“Mother’s Day to me is a very special day that we use to celebrate all of the sacrifices and the unconditional love that mothers have for their children,” said Wiford.