A former NICU mom visited the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa Monday with something to give to families who currently need care.

  • Two years ago, Jessica Smith forced to have her baby at 25 weeks
  • Baby suffered brain bleed, was in NICU for three months
  • Smith's new business helps mothers who have trouble breastfeeding

The halls of the NICU at St. Joseph's are familiar ones for Jessica Smith. She was there for three months with her son fighting for his life with a brain bleed.

“Being at this hospital it brings back a lot of feelings. It’s like an emotional rollercoaster,” Smith said.

Smith wasn't planning on having her baby at St. Joseph's, or in the state of Florida. She lives in Louisiana, and was in Tampa 2 years ago for a business trip when her kidney ruptured.

She was rushed to St. Joseph's, and during her surgery her son had to be delivered at 25 weeks.

"In my lifetime it was the only time I've ever felt so vulnerable," Smith explained.

Now her son is a happy and healthy 2 year old, which Jessica said is thanks to the staff at St. Joseph's. Jessica even named her son Joseph in their honor.

She recently became partners in a business called “Colson and Joe” that helps moms struggling with breastfeeding, and she knew she wanted to do something to give back. So she flew back to Tampa to pass out some of their first products to current moms in the NICU

"It was important to come here first, because this was the NICU that we lived at for three months, and this is what inspired us to even do the NICU program," she said.

Inside each of the boxes are vitamins, supplies, and educational tools for moms who want to breastfeed.

Moms can go online and order individual items to be delivered to their door. Proceeds from each box will go towards similar boxes which will go to moms in NICUs across the country.

"We strive to have moms,  work with them and support them through breastfeeding and it's great to see that there are products out there that will help them be successful," NICU Nurse Manager Janessa Canals Alonso said.

Jessica hopes the boxes can serve as a source of comfort for mothers who she knows are going through a difficult and stressful time.

"You don't know you're going to be there, so all these little things you just hold on to," she explained.

Jessica's company, "Colson and Joe", was named after her son and her business partner's son. Both had to stay at the NICU after they were born.