When a premature baby is ready to go home parents may feel that the worst is over, but premature baby care can be quite daunting adjusting to the transition from hospital to home.
Parents may experience separation anxiety from leaving the well supported environment of the hospital, including 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 risk of burn out.
Concerns about baby’s weight gain and feeding are often raised 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. There may be some babies still requiring 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 apnoeas (stop 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 health professionals may be needed for a follow up. Often families have a financial outlay to attend these appointments combined with travel and parking costs.
For more information see Childbirth.
Information on this page has been kindly provided by Wendy Taverna – Lifes Little Treasures, a representative of the National Premmie Foundation.
All material here is for informational purposes only and should in no way replace or be used as a substitute for, professional medical advice.
NPF Help and Information Line 1300 PREMBABY 1300 773 622 local call cost AU wide 24 hours