Bringing Home Your Baby from the NICU
Bringing home your baby from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience for any parent. The transition from the hospital to the home can be overwhelming, especially if your baby needs specialized care or equipment such as a ventilator or g-tube. Here are some starting points to get you set up to welcome your baby home for the first time!
Prepare a comfortable and safe sleeping space
Your baby may need to sleep in a specialized crib, depending on their medical condition. Specialized cribs may include helpful modifications like an adjustable mattress, oxygen tank holders, and side rails with more adjustments. Make sure that the sleeping space is free from hazards such as loose blankets, pillows, or toys. Getting a baby monitor will also help you keep an eye on your baby, especially during the night.
Organize medical supplies
Having all of your baby's medical supplies easily accessible in a designated area of your home will make things a lot easier to find, especially as you ease into your routines. Items that are replaced regularly like suction catheters, feeding supplies and tracheostomy kits can be stored in marked drawers or bins so they’ll be easy to get to when you need them. You can also organize other baby supplies that you will use often nearby, like diapers, wipes, and washcloths. For more ideas, read our blog post about storage.
Create a feeding station
If your baby requires specialized feeding, such as through a feeding tube, you can set up a dedicated feeding station. Ensure that you have all the necessary equipment and supplies within arm’s reach, such as syringes, formula and feeding bags. It's also a good idea to keep a stash of soft cloths nearby for spills or leaks, especially as you’re getting used to the routine. Feeding can be a messy activity – no matter the method!
When setting up your baby's ventilator, you should try to pick a quiet, safe, and comfortable place. Choose a room that is well-ventilated, free from drafts and dust, and has adequate electrical outlets. The ventilator should be set up on a stable surface, such as a sturdy table or a ventilator stand. You will want to regularly check that the tubing is securely connected to the ventilator and your baby's tracheostomy tube. It's best to have a backup power source in case of a power outage, such as a battery backup. If you ever have any questions about setting up, cleaning, or using the ventilator, Apple HMS Respiratory Therapists can answer your questions and give you peace of mind
Consider a humidifier
If your baby has respiratory issues or is on oxygen support, consider using a humidifier to keep the air moist. This will help to reduce congestion and improve breathing.
You’ll need to baby-proof your home to ensure your baby’s safety. You may be bringing home some new electronics that need to stay plugged in, so make sure to keep power cords out of walkways to avoid tripping hazards. Don't forget common baby safety precautions like covering electrical outlets, securing any heavy furniture, and locking cabinets containing hazardous items. Always block off any areas that may be dangerous for your baby, and install safety gates on stairs.
Get a home helper
If your baby requires specialized care, consider hiring a nurse or a caregiver who is trained in neonatal care to help you with your baby's care at home. There are many options to find help through organizations such as Home Health Agencies, Private Duty Nursing, and Respite Care services. Your local Apple HMS Respiratory Therapist can provide references to an agency in your area, as can your doctor.
Call Apple Homecare Medical Supply
Our friendly and experienced clinical teams can provide training on your baby's new medical equipment. Localized all across Texas, our clinicians can work with you personally to make sure you have what you need. We understand the delicate nature of caring for a child with medical needs, and we take extra steps to provide the best possible service! Give us a call at (866) 332-7753 to get started, or send us a message on our contact page. We take care of everything from insurance paperwork and prescriptions to home delivery!
Coming home with your baby from the NICU for the first time can be overwhelming, but soon you will find a routine that is comfortable for your family. Remember to take care of yourself, get enough rest, and ask for help when needed. With patience and care, you can create a safe and nurturing environment for your baby to thrive!