Premature baby care
When a premature baby is ready to go home, parents may feel that the worst is over, but premature baby care and adjusting to the transition from hospital to home can be quite daunting:
- Parents may experience separation anxiety from leaving the well-supported environment of the hospital, including the professionals who may have known and cared for their baby for an extended period of time.
- Some parents may already feel emotionally and physically fatigued from visiting their baby daily in hospital. Once their baby is home, the interrupted sleep and physical demands required in caring for a new baby can contribute to a feeling of total exhaustion and a risk of burn-out.
- Concerns about baby’s weight gain and feeding are often raised (regardless of whether baby is breast- or formula fed). The breastfeeding mother may be trying to maintain her supply, encourage feeding stamina and juggle expressing and feeding on demand. Some prems still require feeding by a tube through their nose (nasogastric feeding).
- Some premature babies will continue to require oxygen when they go home and possible monitoring for apnoea (baby stops breathing). This requires managing oxygen cylinders, associated tubing and other specialised equipment.
- Most premature babies will have some medical follow-up after they are discharged to monitor growth and development. Premature baby care appointments to see a paediatrician, surgeon, optometrist, audiologist and other relevant allied healthcare professionals may be needed. Often families have a budget to cover these appointments, combined with travel and parking costs.
All material here is for informational purposes only and should in no way replace or be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.