We often receive questions about “preemie-proofing” from parents who are preparing for their preemie’s homecoming. You may have waited a long time for this day, but bringing your baby home, and leaving his team of doctors and nurses behind can be overwhelming for many parents. Here are some tips to help ease the transition:
Before your baby comes home:
• Speak with the NICU staff at your baby’s hospital. They are very knowledgeable about what your baby may need when going home.
• If you clean your home before your baby’s arrival, (or if you want to brighten up your preemie’s nursery by painting it) do so before he comes home. This way you can avoid any strong smells that may linger.
• Clean your house of dust and germs. Vacuum and dust often, take out the garbage and keep your kitchen and bathroom clean. Also, tell your baby’s health care provider if you have any pets. Pet hair can track in dirt and dust.
• If your baby needs oxygen, carefully observe the cleaning requirements, particularly for the humidifier, and understand the safety recommendations.
• Your baby should not be exposed to smoke, aerosol sprays or paint fumes. These irritants can cause wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
• Maintain a smoke-free household. Post signs around your house if you need to so family and friends are aware of your smoke-free home.
• The guidelines for cleaning and storing bottles, nipples, pacifiers, breast pump equipment and milk or formula are the same for preemies as term babies.
• If your baby is on an apnea monitor, be sure you can hear the alarm from every room in your house.
• Wash hands after blowing your nose, diapering your baby or handling raw food. Don’t let adults or children who are sick, have a fever or who may have been exposed to illness, near your baby.
Visit our website here for more great resources for parents after they bring their baby home from the NICU.
What do you remember being helpful when you brought your preemie home? What tips would you recommend to new parents?