NICU mom creates business to support families of preemies

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A local woman turned her experience with her premature baby in the neonatal intensive care unit into a business with a simple goal.

Kelsey Steele of Virginia Beach wants parents of preemies to feel normal and uplifted during what can be a very scary and uncertain time.

“She was 14 weeks early. She weighed 1 pound 4 ounces, and she spent 90 days in the NICU at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital,” said Steele speaking of her daughter Laylani.

Steele said in addition to being born early, her daughter also has sickle cell disease.

“So, that’s a blood disorder that causes her health to be a little irregular. Which can cause clotting and lots of pain episodes down the road,” she said.

Steele said the care her family received at Sentara Princess Anne, and the cancer and blood disorder unit at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters is why she decided to give back to those organizations. She created Dandelion Fields Co. which features Steele’s handmade hair accessories.

“We go from premature, the smallest, I mean literally you could put it on the smallest of the small baby, all the way up to adults. So, it’s fully customizable. You can get any size that you need. We have different styles, so it just depends,” said Steele.

Steele said she uses very soft, stretchy headband material so no pressure is put on the heads of preemies when they are healthy enough to wear them.

But why the focus on hair accessories?

“It can be very discouraging when you can’t find simple things like clothes and hair bows. That’s just one thing that I feel like a mom should not have to worry about in the NICU or in any hospital. You know, finding the appropriate-sized items for your special babe should not be something that’s impossible.”

Steele said parents of preemies miss out on so many firsts for their babies, and she wants to make sure they feel included, loved and supported.

“You should at least be able to get your little babe into a hairbow and kind of have that pride like, ‘Yes, I’m finally in the journey with the rest of the moms and I can dress my baby.’ And we want to be there to support that.”

Steele is happy to announce Laylani turned one in February and she is thriving.

So, what’s behind the name of the company, Dandelion Fields Co.

“Dandelions are known for being able to grow and thrive in conditions that are unimaginable, and I just — that is exactly what she is. She came into this world at 26 weeks old, 1 pound 4 ounces, and just has blown everybody away.”

When you buy hair accessories from Dandelion Field Co, Steele also creates hair accessories and care packages to donate to Sentara and CHKD. She said she is also working on creating bow-ties for little boys.

To make a purchase from Dandelion Fields Co. click here.