Taking Your Baby Home
Your premature infant is considered ready to go home when he or she is able to:
- Take all feedings by nipple and continue to gain weight.
- Maintain body heat in an open infant bed.
- Breathe well. (An infant whose lungs have suffered damage may be sent home with portable oxygen.)
- Have normal breathing and a normal heart rate for a week. (An infant who is otherwise mature enough yet still stops breathing sometimes or has lung disease or other breathing problems may be sent home with an Reference apnea monitor Opens New Window.)
Some infants are ready to go home as early as 5 weeks before their due date. Other infants, usually those who have had medical problems, may be sent home later.
Preparing to go home
As your infant's discharge from the hospital approaches, you may feel excitement, impatience, and a new kind of anxiety. Responsibility for your infant's care, which has so recently required lots of technology and medical training, is now being transferred to you. You can best prepare yourself by learning:
- Reference Infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), as taught by a certified instructor.
- How to Reference safely transport your infant in the car.
- Basic infant care skills.
- How to handle the medicine or medical equipment, if any, that will be needed at home.
You will also want to:
- Discuss your questions and concerns with the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) staff, your baby's doctor, and a Reference discharge planner Opens New Window. A discharge planner can help make sure that your baby will get the right care after leaving the hospital.
- Make an appointment with your baby's doctor for a few days after your infant's homecoming. Weekly medical checks after discharge are especially important for a premature infant, as well as reassuring for you.
If home-based health care and support are available to you, take advantage of them. Home-based services spare you and your infant the physical and emotional stress of traveling to numerous appointments.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 14, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
- Health Tools
- Delivery of Your Premature Infant
- Taking Care of Yourselves
- The Premature Newborn
- The Sick Premature Infant
- Getting to Know the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
- Taking Your Baby Home
- The First Weeks at Home
- Looking Ahead to the Childhood Years
- Other Places To Get Help
- Related Information