Take Your Preemie Home
Most preemies go home on or around their original due date -- the average is 36 to 38 weeks, depending on how premature she is -- and the majority do so without needing any special equipment. Even so, you'll have to take precautions. After she leaves the NICU, your preemie is still extremely susceptible to viral infections, especially RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which can lead to breathing problems and even another stint in the hospital. "Buy some alcohol-based hand gel and ask everyone to use it. And don't allow anybody who is sick to hold the baby," cautions Dr. Belfort. To keep your preemie super safe and healthy, Dr. Belfort also recommends that all family members and caregivers get a flu shot.
Finally, try your best to keep your home as peaceful as possible. Loud music, bright lights, and lots of commotion can be especially upsetting to premature babies. "Every infant is different," says Dr. Belfort. "But preemies can be particularly sensitive to crowds, light, and noise."