Bringing Home Your Premature Baby

A preemie often requires a longer hospital stay and special care once he or she comes home.

If your newborn was a premature birth you might have not only fewer weeks to prepare to welcome your little one into the world, but also a few more questions about bringing your baby home.

When can I take my baby home?
Only your doctor can answer this question. However, a baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy often requires a longer hospital stay than a full-term baby, and commonly benefits from being in the NICU. The earlier a baby is born, the greater the odds are that he or she will have health problems such as apnea, jaundice, anemia, respiratory distress syndrome, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, infections and other conditions. A preemie can usually head home once he or she weighs at least four pounds and is steadily gaining weight, can breastfeed or bottle-feed, and can both breathe and maintain body temperature without assistance.

What will I need to know to care for my baby?
Our trained staff will educate you on how to care for your newborn including using any special equipment and administering any necessary medication. They’ll also teach you how to spot potential problems and make sure you know when and how to contact your doctor. Your baby may already be on a regular eating and sleeping schedule from his or her days in the hospital, or you might establish a routine at home. Typical fussiness due to being tired, hungry or in need of a diaper change are easily remedied.

What if I have questions?
Talk to your pediatrician about any concerns and schedule regular appointments to monitor health and development. In addition, a support group can be a good way of networking with other parents of preemies, who are often a great source of information and ideas.

The Medical Center of Lewisville Level III NICU is equipped to care for premature and critically ill infants and can be reached at 972-420-1089 for more information. Our Pediatric Services department provides comprehensive, family centered care for your little ones and is available to you 24/7. To find out more, please call 972-420-1518.

Related Posts:
Understanding a Preemie’s Special Needs
8 Dos and Don’ts for a Healthy Pregnancy

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