The complete resource for NICU families from admission to discharge and beyond





Your baby has been in the NICU now for what seems like forever, and s/he is seems to be doing everything they need to be in order to live a healthy life outside of the NICU. So, why are they still admitted to the NICU?

Every NICU care provider wants to get your baby home to you as soon as it is safe to do so – and not one minute longer! To be ready to go home, any baby (with small exception) needs to be doing four things



Photograph: Owlet 
Photograph: Owlet

          Your baby must be breathing independently, on room air, requiring no extra support and never forgetting to breathe.

          If your baby has had episodes of apnea, bradycardia, or desaturation, none must have occurred within the past several
          days that required some sort of intervention from a care giver. 


Maintaining a normal temperature

Healthy babies must maintain a healthy temperature.
Photograph: YouTube

          Your baby must be maintaining a normal body temperature in a regular baby crib or bassinet, dressed in normal
          baby clothes.

          As it may take a while for adjustment, hopefully your baby will have been out in a crib for several days before discharge. 





           Your baby must be taking all his/her feeds at breast or from a bottle, and not needed any tube feeds for at least 24 hours
           or more prior to discharge.

           (Occasionally infants are discharged home with feeding tubes in place, but this is unusual. Speak to your neonatologist if you have questions.)           

Gaining Weight

Photograph: Petro Feketa/iStock/Getty Images

          The ultimate test of discharge readiness is doing all of the above three things, and gaining weight.

          Steady and adequate weight gain is essential for a baby to thrive.

          All of the above tasks take energy to accomplish, and, after all is said and done, your baby must do all those things and
          still have enough energy left over to gain weight.




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