Nothing can compare to the feeling of transitioning newborns from the NICU to home. You are so gloriously happy to finally be bringing your precious new baby home from the hospital, and yet you might also be nervous about the transition. What if your baby gets sick without a doctor present? We’re here to tell you, it is not as scary as you may think.
You Are Not on Your Own
After being surrounded by caregivers for your preemie for weeks or months, suddenly you may feel alone. Having anxiety about being home is perfectly normal. Your baby’s caregivers are a phone call away, so try to relax and enjoy this alone time with your baby.
Don’t hesitate to call your baby’s provider to ask questions or get reassurance. Talk with your partner about their feelings and don’t be afraid to share yours. Every parent has had the same feelings you are having, so be open and honest.
Ask for Help When You Need It
Reach out to relatives and friends with questions. Also, don’t be shy about requesting their help with laundry, grocery shopping, or other errands when you first get home.
Check on Baby’s Development
Choose your pediatrician and put all your well-baby visits on your calendar to remind yourself. Take your baby to every appointment. Not only will this provide some reassurance for you that all is well, but it also gives the opportunity to check that your little one is healthy and developing as he or she should be.
Keeping Your Preemie Healthy at Home
Premature infants are more susceptible to infection than full-term babies. Become a germ policeman by asking visitors to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before touching your child. They will understand. Setting ground rules for visitors will benefit you and your baby. Of course, don’t let sick friends or relatives visit.
Limit trips to crowded places if you want to take your baby outside.
Sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, can happen to premature babies as well as full-term. Don’t have toys and stuffed animals in your child’s crib while he or she sleeps.
Keep your child safe by adhering to the following guidelines:
- Only put your child to sleep on their back.
- Only put your child to sleep in his or her own bed or crib.
- Have baby sleep in the same room as you, but not in the same bed.
Take Care of Yourself
Don’t underestimate the toll of having a premature child and spending time in the NICU. Watch for signs of baby blues or postpartum depression, and ask for help. Share responsibilities with your partner when possible.
Get enough sleep and eat healthy.
Believe it or not, the time will pass quickly, and you will become more relaxed caring for your happy and growing child.
Contact Fairfax Neonatal Associates with any questions regarding transitioning newborns from the NICU to home.