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This time last year I had a daughter in the NICU and every day was a struggle. I thought wouldn’t it be nice if this time last year I had some tips that would have helped me during my 162 stay in the NICU with my preemie daughter? The answer is YES!
So that is why for the next 5 days, I’m going to share with you tips and resources for surviving the NICU. They are full of helpful and easy ways to care for yourself and your premature baby in the NICU that worked for me.
Waiting to leave the NICU
So you have a baby who is in the NICU and you are finally preparing to bring your precious baby home after days, weeks, or months away from home.
This news is exciting to hear but also scary.
I remember when we got the news we would be bringing our daughter home shortly. I was elated. After all she was in there for a total of 162 before we brought her home.
I was exhausted from juggling life in the NICU and my life outside the NICU.
I felt torn and pulled in multiple directions. So you probably are feeling multiple emotions now. I’m here to help you prepare to bringing your baby home without the stress.
When preparing to bring your baby home there are a few steps you must complete in the NICU prior to leaving the NICU.
1. Preparing yourself
Prior to your baby getting discharged it’s an excellent idea if you haven’t already done so get yourself familiar with your babies routine in the hospital and assisting in her cares.
If allowed room in with your baby a few days before discharge to get in a routine of taking care of her yourself.
If your baby requires medicine get acquainted with it and familiar with giving your baby the medicine they are needing.
If they require medical equipment you will need to know how to work it and be able to fix if there is an error with it.
My daughter was sent home on a small amount of oxygen requirements. Prior to being discharged my husband and myself had to know how to operate the equipment.
We were required to watch a few videos as well as complete a CPR class.
2. Preparing your home
You’re about to leave the NICU with your little one and it’s time to ensure that your house is prepared for the new arrival.
Do you plan on having them sleep in your room, do you have a bassinet set up? Is the crib assembled in the nursery? It’s a good idea to have the sleeping arrangements planned prior to discharge day.
I personally kept my daughter in our bedroom during the night. She was on oxygen and I just didn’t feel comfortable having her far away from me. We slowly transitioned her into her room after a few months being home.
You need to do what feels comfortable with you. Your babies doctor can also provide you with advice and guidance when it comes to sleeping arrangements.
Is your baby coming home on medical equipment? Be sure to set up a designated spot to keep the supplies and be sure to label it so that anyone taking care of your little one knows where it’s at and how to use it.
It’s a good idea to clean your house prior to discharge day. Once your baby comes home cleaning is the last thought you will have. It also helps remove any dust and germs prior to bringing your preemie home. Complete a good spring cleaning a few days before. If you don’t have time ask a friend or family member to help.
3. Preparing your visitors
Now that you are bringing your precious baby home after time spent away in the NICU, you might be overwhelmed with the thought of visitors coming over.
It’s completely up to you whether you allow visitors or not. After all you have watched your baby fight for their life and you know what’s best for your baby.
If you allow visitors here are a few guidelines:
Limit the number of visitors
Wash hands prior to holding
No smoking near your baby
Smoke free clothing
Visitors should have the Flu shot and Pertussis (whopping cough) Vaccine
Haven’t been exposed to illness or fever
Don’t feel guilty if you say no. Your the best advocate for your baby.
4. After discharge
After leaving the NICU your baby may have a few follow appointments to attend. In the beginning it may feel like every week your baby has some type of appointment. It’s a good idea to get a calendar such as this one to write down the appointments and times to ensure you don’t forget.
It may take you awhile to get adjusted to having your baby home and getting your baby off the NICU schedule. After leaving the NICU my daughter took a few weeks to get adjusted to being home. I saw a decline in her eating and then finally it just clicked and she started thriving at home.
So don’t be alarmed if it takes awhile for your little one to get used to being home. It’s a huge adjustment for them. Be patient.
Your baby is home
Now the time has finally come and your sweet baby is finally home after leaving the NICU after days, weeks or months.
I’m so happy for your mama. But I also know first hand how exciting but scary this time is for you. Stay strong. Remember you got this.
Let me know in the comments how many days before leaving the NICU with your baby was and how discharge went.