Pre-Term Infant

When is it okay to go home?

  • breathing on her own
  • able to maintain body temperature
  • able to be fed by breast or bottle
  • gaining weight steadily at time of discharge
  • Other medical problems should also be resolved, or home care should be set up before your baby leaves the hospital.

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What to ask before you leave the hospital?

  • How to care for your baby at home
  • When to call his or her office or go to the hospital
  • How to know if your baby is eating properly, getting enough sleep and gaining enough weight
  • What medicines to give, if any are needed
  • How often you will need to bring your baby in for an exam. Regular contact with your pediatrician is very important to your child's health. Be sure to discuss any worries that you have about your baby.
  • If you must bring the hospital home with you

Some premature babies need monitors and other equipment at home. Some babies may also need to go home with oxygen or other treatments. You and other caregivers will be trained on how to take care of your child's special needs before you take her home. You will also be taught how to perform infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

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Finally Home!

Premature babies need to be fed more often, and it will take a little while for them to adjust to being at home.

Your baby needs plenty of sleep in order to grow and develop. She will rest easier—and you will, too—if you follow a few simple rules when you put your baby down for a nap or for the night.

  • keeping blankets, pillows, soft bedding, and large stuffed toys out of your baby's crib
  • making sure your baby's room is not too hot or too cold
  • not smoking in your home
  • getting regular health care for your child
  • breastfeeding

Need Support?

Sometimes parents need help taking care of a premature baby. Or they may need a shoulder to lean on when facing the stresses of being a new parent. If this is the case:

  • Talk to your pediatrician, he or she can be a great source of support.
  • Take a parenting class or join a parent support group. Your local hospital may offer these or can refer you to counselors or other professionals who can help.