Get settled in with helpful tips for a smooth transition.
All parents look forward to the day they finally bring their baby home. Being prepared can help you relieve anxiety and better manage unexpected and unfamiliar events.
Consider the following before you bring home your baby:
Choose your pediatrician
Find a pediatrician with experience in caring for premature infants. Invite your pediatrician to the hospital to meet your NICU team and to create a smooth transition.
Schedule your baby's first checkup
Schedule your baby's first pediatrician visit within two days of leaving the NICU. Also schedule appointments with any specialists, if needed. Be sure to take any discharge papers you receive from the hospital to your baby’s first pediatrician visit.
Get some hands-on practice
Before you leave the hospital, ask your NICU team to let you practice feeding and bathing your baby, giving medications, and using any special equipment.
It is important training for all parents, and can give you peace of mind.
Take good notes
By writing down all instructions your doctor and NICU team give you about how much to feed your baby and how often, as well as any other specific care instructions, you’ll feel more confident in caring for your baby.
Have your NICU department on speed dial
Keep the number by your home phones and store it in your mobile phone, too.
Settle in with these helpful hints
Bringing home baby and adjusting to life at home together is a learning experience for all involved. It might take several weeks for your baby to get into a regular routine, and for you to feel rested, positive, and confident in your decisions. It’s important to keep in mind several points to ensure your baby's continued development and welfare during and after this transition:
Keep it comfortable
Premature babies do not have much fat at first, and might have trouble adjusting to temperature changes. Make sure to keep your baby's room at a comfortable temperature.
Your baby's immune system will need a few weeks to adjust before you have visitors. Once she's ready, make sure all visitors are healthy and that they wash their hands with soap and warm water before touching or holding your baby.
Bathe baby regularly
Babies only need to be bathed two to three times a week during the first year of life. Keep the room warm and free of drafts during bathing, and use smooth, soothing motions when washing. Swaddle your baby in a soft towel after the bath to keep him warm.
The slats on your baby's crib should be close together (no more than 2-3/8 inches apart) so his head does not get caught. Check that the mattress is firm and fits snugly to the crib's frame. There should be no more than a thin, tight-fitting sheet on the mattress. Soft, bulkier items, such as blankets, bumpers, and stuffed animals could block your baby's breathing, so keep them out of the crib.