NICU hair salon in hospital

Spreading Holiday Spirit: Woman Opens Salon in Hospital for NICU Moms

During the holiday season, it’s nice to hear stories of people spreading kindness and goodwill. That’s exactly what an Indiana woman had in mind when she opened a hospital beauty bar to pamper parents of high-risk newborns. 34 years old Sarah Pulley owns a hair salon in Carmel, Indiana. As a mom of a former NICU baby, she knows the heartache it can bring parents. Sarah’s daughter Amelia was born premature four years ago. She spent four months in the neonatal intensive care unit at two different hospitals in Indianapolis.

NICU hair salon
Courtesy Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana

“When Amelia contracted a virus, she was transferred to Riley Children’s Health,” Pulley told TODAY Parents. “We’re very familiar with those walls.” In 2021, she joined the hospital’s Ronald McDonald House Family Room as a guest services volunteer. Riley Children’s Health expressed that it wanted to provide pampering services in one of its two family rooms, and Pulley jumped at the chance to lead the initiative. “I knew this could be special,” she said. She donated a chair from her salon, Three Seventeen Hair Design, and struck a deal with her distributor to provide $150 worth of free hair care products. She also volunteers her hair styling skills. 

The “Beauty Bar” opened on the third floor of Ronald McDonald Family Room Maternity Tower in the Fall. The salon provides parents with a relaxing experience that involves a HydroMassage chair, a nap pod, and snacks. Pulley offers pampering and styling to postpartum moms and sleep-deprived dads at no charge. “We shampoo, blow dry and give scalp massages on the second Wednesday of each month,” she explained. She understands just how necessary self-care is for parents during these times. “You completely lose all sense of yourself when you have a baby in the NICU,” she recalled. “My first mom completely relaxed in the chair; she just closed her eyes and breathed. My second was completely exhausted.” 

Pulley especially connected with her third guest, whose baby had similar medical issues similar to her daughter’s. “She had an emergency C-section and she was so thankful,” Pulley recalled. “Our experiences were very similar.” According to her, beauty treatments “are just as special for me,” adding, “There’s something about the connection between moms and the power of touch.” Pulley wants NICU parents to know: “You’ve got this.”

“There is hope in my story because my daughter is thriving,” said Pulley, who welcomed a son n 2020. “We made it.”

 This article originally appeared in TODAY.