Sometimes, our babies are so excited to meet us that they arrive earlier than the doctor expected. Premature newborns have additional needs compared to full-term babies, and some need to spend weeks or months in the hospital. No matter how long you have to wait, the day finally comes when you get to bring your preemie home, which is both exciting and stressful. With this guide, you’ll understand what you need to know before bringing your preemie home so you can feel prepared.
Talk to Their Doctor
Have an in-depth conversation with the doctor and nurses monitoring your newborn. Write everything down to ensure you ask all your questions, and so you can have your list the day you pick up your baby. Don’t hesitate to ask the following questions:
- How do I change their diaper?
- How do I swaddle my baby?
- How often should my baby eat?
- How much should my baby weigh?
- How do I bathe my baby, and how often?
As a new parent, stress is natural, and you want to do everything right. Remember, there’s no such thing as “perfection,” so cut yourself the necessary slack. The nurses will happily show you how to care for your newborn, so you can go home feeling ready.
Babies develop the sucking reflex at 36 weeks gestation, so some premature babies struggle to breastfeed. Talk with the doctor about formula options and how often your baby needs to eat to meet their caloric needs.
Prepare the Nursery
If your baby needs to be in the hospital after you or your partner get discharged, prepare the nursery. You may need to make a few tweaks, such as replacing newborn pacifiers with preemie pacis. Most experts agree that the best time to introduce the binky to a preemie is just after birth. The sucking sensation helps regulate their heart rate and develop the sucking reflex.
You should also have enough wipes and preemie diapers and prepare the crib. If your baby will sleep in a bassinet in your room, ensure this is in the most appropriate spot for nighttime care.
Schedule Follow-Up Visits
As the final tip to know before bringing your preemie home, make sure you schedule all the necessary follow-up appointments before leaving the hospital. Caring for a baby is a lot of work, and it’ll be all-consuming when your little one comes home. These appointments are crucial and allow the doctor to give you additional care tips for your newborn. Your pediatrician will also monitor your baby’s weight to ensure that they are growing at a healthy rate.
Likewise, schedule any necessary visits with specialists such as physical therapists or neurologists if your baby needs them. With a team of experts, your preemie will receive the essential care to flourish and hit milestones.
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