Preparing to Go Home

    Bringing Your Preemie Home

    Congratulations! You're headed home with your preemie. You're probably feeling very happy and maybe a little nervous, too. Don't worry, though, your NICU staff will not send you home unprepared.

    Guidelines for Discharging Your Preemie

    Each

    will have its own guidelines regarding the discharge of your baby from the hospital. Listed below are some of the most common requirements for bringing your preemie home:

    • You have acquired the skill and judgment necessary to care for you baby at home.
    • Your baby can successfully feed by mouth and grow well on breast milk and/or formula.
    • Your baby can control their own body temperature and keep themselves warm without the help of an incubator.
    • They can breathe regularly except for occasional apnea. Although, some babies may go home on oxygen or a monitor.
    • Their medical condition is stable and all unresolved medical issues have been addressed.

    Getting Help from the NICU Nurses

    The NICU nurses are trained to help you get ready and guide you as you practice your baby's daily routines before taking them home.

    • The nurses will help you bathe your baby and change their diapers.
    • They'll coach you through their daily care and answer all your questions about feeding.
    • They'll also teach you how to take your baby's temperature and watch for signs of illness.
    • If your baby is going home on oxygen or on some type of monitor, they'll show you how to connect and troubleshoot it. They'll also instruct you in the use of any medications.

    While your baby is still in the NICU, it is a good time to take a course in infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This life-saving course will teach you how to get your baby's heart and lungs working again if they should ever stop for any reason. Chances are you won't ever need to use CPR on your baby but knowing it will increase your confidence and could save your baby's life.

    Bringing your preemie home is a big step, but we know you can handle it! It will help to spend as much time with your baby in the NICU as you possibly can before going home. The NICU staff will do everything they can to make the transition home the wonderful event you've been waiting for.