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Some babies who have stayed in the NICU for a long time need medical equipment when they leave the hospital. If your baby needs medical equipment at home, practice using it with him before he leaves the hospital.
Most of the time, the company that provides the equipment sends someone to the NICU or to your home to show you how to use it. Three of the most common types of equipment babies use after they leave the NICU are an apnea monitor, a feeding tube and oxygen.
Many babies have times when they stop breathing for more than 15 seconds. This is called apnea. If a baby hasn’t outgrown this problem in the hospital, she may need an apnea monitor at home.
The monitor is connected to the baby by soft, sticky patches or by a soft belt that goes around her chest. The monitor sounds an alarm if the baby stops breathing or if her heartbeat is too fast or too slow. A health care provider teaches you what to do when the alarm goes off and when to call your baby’s provider. Sometimes the alarm may go off when there is nothing wrong with your baby. Learn what causes false alarms and how to keep them from happening.
Some babies go home still needing to be fed through a tube. The tube will stay in place between feedings and doesn’t bother your baby. You can feed your baby breast milk or formula through the feeding tube.
If your baby needs oxygen, you need these supplies:
If your baby does go home on oxygen, make sure you know how to use and store it safely. Oxygen causes fires very easily. This means that even a small spark can start a big fire. Never put the oxygen tank in the same room as a burning fire, gas stove or where someone’s smoking.
March of Dimes fights for the health of all moms and babies. We're advocating for policies to protect them. We're working to radically improve the health care they receive. We're pioneering research to find solutions. We're empowering families with the knowledge and tools to have healthier pregnancies. By uniting communities, we're building a brighter future for us all.
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