Babies Are Leaving The NICU With Adorable 'Graduation Day' Photos

A happy homecoming.

Every year, a staggering 15 million babies around the world are born prematurely, with many going to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for treatment. Time spent in the NICU can be emotional, stressful and scary for the parents, family and friends, who are waiting to hear news of how their child is doing every day. 

That's why when a baby is finally healthy enough to be discharged from the NICU, it's a joyous occasion worth celebrating. 

To help families commemorate the special day, babies leaving CaroMont Health in North Carolina celebrate with a "graduation day."


For the milestone, each baby receives a grad cap, and participates in a small ceremony.

The moment is captured with a complimentary photo shoot, courtesy of Bella Baby Photography, Gaston Memorial Hospital's exclusive newborn photography company.

Lauren Naldzin, director of operations at Bella Baby Photography, explained to A Plus via email that Melissa Jordan, a NICU nurse at the Gaston Memorial Hospital in CarolMont Health, came up with the graduation day concept, and asked Bella Baby to be a part of it.

Jordan told HuffPost she had the idea about six months ago after seeing a baby named Wyatt wearing a onesie that read "NICU grad" the day he was being discharged. This inspired Jordan to make a graduation cap for Wyatt, and to make his day even more special by having the staff sing and dance as he left.

The concept for NICU graduations blossomed from there.

"Our goal was to provide parents beautiful images that celebrate the exciting time of discharging [their infant] from the NICU so they would have keepsake photos for a lifetime."

"We hope that our photos provide timeless memories for families to look back and remember how far they have come and how much these little ones have overcome in such a short amount of time," Naldzin told A Plus.

Scroll down to see more photos from NICU baby graduation days:


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.