Get to know your baby and feel comfortable caring for him or her by:
- Becoming involved in your baby’s care in the hospital
- Learning ways to comfort or settle your baby
- Changing diapers and clothes
- Feeding your baby as often as possible
- Learning to give a bath
- Learning to give medications that your baby will receive at home
- Learning any treatments that will be given at home
- Learning to properly position your baby in a car seat
Identify which doctor will be caring for your baby after discharge and be sure you have an appointment scheduled shortly after. Your baby may have several other appointments after discharge. Be sure to go to all of the appointments, even if your baby seems healthy.
- If your baby is a boy, decide if you want him circumcised.
- Inquire about immunizations. Some immunizations may be started before discharge. Others are given at the time of discharge. Be sure you have a record of those given.
- Learn the results of the routine screening tests performed on your infant and if repeat testing is needed. Common screens are listed below. Your baby may not have all of these:
- Neonatal Screen. All babies have blood tests to look for the presence of certain diseases. States vary regarding the number and types of diseases screened. Sick preterm infants often have “false positive” results and the test may need to be repeated when the infant is older and healthier.
- Eye Examination
- Hearing test
- Head ultrasound
If your baby is going home on an apnea monitor:
- Complete monitor training
- Learn the important contact numbers for problems or emergencies
If your infant is going home on oxygen:
- Be sure you feel comfortable working all of the equipment that you will use at home and when going out.
- Learn how to secure the nasal cannula.
- Learn the important contact numbers for problems or emergencies.
- Learn infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Ask for a copy of your baby’s discharge summary, so you will have it in the future if problems develop or if you move.