These graduation photos of premature babies will melt your heart

Nisean Lorde

This will likely be the cutest thing you’ll see today.

Hospital staff at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in North Carolina have been holding mini graduation ceremonies for babies leaving the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Newborns admitted to the unit require intensive care usually because they are born premature or sick, so the ceremonies are meant to mark major milestones in their young lives.

“We make sure these babies are being fed and cared and loved for, and of course that the parents get to bond with them while they’re in the NICU,” Melissa Jordan, a nurse at CaroMont Regional Medical Center told Buzzfeed. When the babies are discharged, they’re sent home with the cutest little graduation caps and free portraits, courtesy of Bella Baby Photography. Each grad cap comes with a personalized message that represent the number of days the baby spent in the ICU: “X days behind me, a whole lifetime in front of me.”