If you are unsure of what to buy when a preemie comes home from the hospital for the first time, you are not alone. There are many things you will want to have on hand to welcome your new bundle of joy.
Preparing for the Arrival of Your Preemie
Now that baby is finally coming home, you may feel nervous that you, and your home, are unprepared for his arrival. Don't panic. Before you leave, someone from the hospital will go over any special equipment or necessities you should have.
The first thing you will need is an infant car seat to transfer baby from the hospital to home. The one you bought should be fine, so do not feel the need to go buy a different car seat.
As with any baby, you want to be prepared with the basics, including:
- Diapers: Most diapers come in sizes made specifically for preemie babies. However, don't overstock on these. Babies have a tendency to grow quickly, and you don't want to be stuck with a ton of diapers your baby can wear.
- Formula: If you are not breastfeeding, you will want to make sure you have formula on hand. If your baby did not have any reactions to the brand the hospital was using, stock up with that. If you are unsure which formula to use, consult with your doctor.
- Bottles: Even if you are breastfeeding, you will need some bottles. Before buying a dozen of what you think you'll love best, stop. Buy just a few of one or two brands so you can compare them. Some babies are very picky about the bottles they will drink from.
- Clothing: Your preemie will spend most of his time in onesies and sleepers. Make sure you have enough to get you through the next load of laundry, but don't go overboard. Again, baby will grow quickly. Make sure you have the next size on hand to be ready.
- Anti-Bacterial Soap: You will want everyone who holds your baby to wash his or her hands. Anti-bacterial soap can help cut back on the unfriendly germs that enter your home.
- Infant thermometer: Chances are you will need to monitor your baby's temperature. Invest in a good, easy to use ear thermometer.
- Other baby necessities: You will need all the normal baby items such as an infant bath tub, baby lotion, baby shampoo, nail clippers, and lots and lots of wet wipes.
- Books and music: There are many great story books and music compilations geared towards babies. It is never to early to begin reading to your child, and you may find it a relaxing way to bond. Having classical music playing in the background is also soothing and proven to be beneficial to both baby and mom.
The nurses will also go over a list of what to buy when a preemie comes home with you before they let you take him home.
Though the hospital will not discharge an infant unless your baby can survive at home with minimum care, in some cases, you may be required to rent or purchase special equipment to monitor baby or be prepared. Some of the equipment will require training, so have a list together of anyone who you trust to your leave your child with as they will also need to be trained.
The most common equipment you would be required to learn include:
- Apnea Monitor: If your child has mild apnea, also known as pauses in breathing, the hospital will send you home with an apnea monitor.
- Ventilator or oxygen: It is common for premature infants to have breathing difficulties. Though most of them outgrow it, some infants develop bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), which leads to scarring and inflammation of the lungs. In these cases, your doctor may send you home with either a ventilator and oxygen, or medications.
Before baby comes home, seriously consider taking an infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) class. This will help give you more confidence in case something was to happen.
Most local hospitals and America Red Cross chapters offer CPR classes. Give them a call to find out when the next certification is and enroll yourself, as well as anyone else who will be spending a lot of time with baby.
Now that your baby is home, make sure you spend time taking care of yourself. If you are stressed, it will be more difficult to be prepared for taking care of your preemie.