Is my premature baby ready to go home?
It can be very exciting and also daunting to find out that your baby is ready to go home. There are many factors that will be considered before your baby is able to go home. It is also important that feel ready and confident to care for your baby.
There are many factors that will be considered before your baby is able to go home. It is also important that you feel ready and confident to care for your baby.
Medical professionals will asses your baby and will ultimately decide if they are ready. Your baby will need to be:
- Able to maintain their own body temperature
- Consistently gaining weight and generally weigh over 2kg
- On full suck feeds by either breast or bottle
- If your baby is feeding well, gaining weight and has no other medical problems they may go home before their original estimated due date. Some premature babies may have to stay in hospital longer than their estimated due date if they still require help with feeding, breathing or have any other medical complications.
Premature babies that require specialist medical care, may still be able to go home even if they need oxygen for breathing issues. This will only happen once you have the required information, follow-up support is arranged, and you are confident enough to undertake and cope with the relevant duties of caring for your baby at home.
Before you are discharged and leave the hospital, your baby will have a hearing test and may also have an eye test. You will be given information you need to care for your baby, which can include details of any medications that need to be administered, follow up appointments or checkups you need to attend.
Babies who have been born premature and spent time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or special care nursery (SCN) are often at higher risk of getting an infection than other babies who are born full term. It is often recommended to limit visitors for the first few months, also taking extra special care of where you take your baby.
Family and friends will be eager to meet your new baby and may not understand your concerns for your baby’s ongoing health and wellness. You may like to adapt the following words to suit your circumstances, to help explain to friends and family the importance of your premature baby’s growing immune system.
We are thrilled that after spending X weeks in hospital we have finally been able to bring our precious little baby home! We are very grateful for your love and support whilst in the NICU and know that you may wish to visit (insert parents and child’s name here).
We kindly ask for our privacy over the coming weeks as we adjust to finally becoming a family within our home.
(Insert child’s name here) immune system is extremely vulnerable, and his/her doctors have advised we will need to be extra careful with visitors as a small infection such as a cold could land him/her straight back in hospital.
We hope you understand and appreciate your love and concern and look forward to introducing (insert child’s name) when his/her immune system is stronger.
Please talk to your doctor or health care provider about their recommendations once taking your baby home. Most doctors will recommend
- Limiting the amount of visitors to your home until your baby is older and stronger
- Ensuring that if visitors are touching your baby that they thoroughly wash their hands
- Avoid taking your baby to crowded places, such as shopping malls and grocery stores.
- Limiting adults or children who are sick, have a temperature, or have been exposed to an infectious disease near your baby or in your home
- Do not allow people to smoke inside your home, or near the baby
The subject matter provided in these articles is strictly for informational purposes alone and should never be used in the place of a doctor’s advice. Please ALWAYS contact your doctor if you ever have questions or need advice in any area where medical advice is needed or medication is suggested.