Mom Opens Special Hair Salon for Parents of Preemies

Pampering parents provides comfort and encouragement.

Mother cuddling her newborn baby.

(Natalia Deriabina /

All parents of newborns need a little TLC. But parents with babies in the neonatal unit need even more pampering and stress relief. That’s why an Indiana mom opened a beauty salon in a hospital specifically for the parents of these tiniest babies.

Sarah Pulley knows all about the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) because her daughter Amelia was premature and spent four months in two different Indianapolis hospitals, reported TODAY. Now she wants to help other parents in the same situation.

“When Amelia contracted a virus, she was transferred to Riley Children’s Health [Hospital],” Pulley, 34, a hair salon owner in Carmel, told TODAY. “We’re very familiar with those walls.”

This experience is why Pulley decided to become a guest services volunteer at Riley’s Ronald McDonald House Family Room in 2021. This program is run by the nonprofit Ronald McDonald House Charities and provides services like places to eat meals, shower, and even overnight stays for parents’ being treated in the critical care unit.

Getting Started
When the organizers of the Ronald McDonald room decided that they wanted to add some extra services to pamper the parents of the preemies in the NICU, Pulley jumped right on board.

She offered to lead the initiative, donated her time, as well as a chair from her own salon; Three Seventeen Hair Design in Carmel, Indiana. According to, Pulley even got her distributor to donate hair care products. The hair salon, called Beauty Bar, opened at Riley Hospital on September 14, 2022, and Pulley began providing her services once a month.

Beauty Bar
Beauty Bar offers a lot more pampering than just haircuts. There’s even a massage chair at the salon and exhausted moms and dads can have a snack or even take a nap.

“We shampoo, blow dry, and give scalp massages on the second Wednesday of each month,” Pulley told TODAY. “You completely lose all sense of yourself when you a baby in the NICU. My first mom completely relaxed in the chair; she just closed her eyes and breathed. My second was completely exhausted.”

While the service is open to all patients who deliver at Riley, most of the users are the parents’ premature babies, according to Adam Lowe, a marketing and communications manager for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana.

He told TODAY, “Most of the moms who give birth there have high-risk pregnancies or babies who need immediate medical support.”

While the Beauty Bar provides pampering hair styling and massages, the most important service that the salon provides is support and encouragement.

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