a. Bringing baby home checklist

As the day of discharge gets closer, these are some things you can do to prepare yourself, your home and your family for baby’s arrival.

What you can do at the hospital

  • Take care of your baby. Feed, bathe, dress and put a diaper on your baby.
  • Breastfeed your baby and pump your breast milk. Get help, if you need it, from the nurse and lactation consultant.
  • Ask who to call if you have questions about caring for your baby once he’s home.
  • Learn how to give your baby his medicine or other treatments.
  • Ask if you can “room-in” overnight with your baby. Many hospitals have a quiet room where you can take care of your baby like you would at home.
  • Take an infant CPR class.
  • Go to a discharge class, if your hospital has one. This class can give you helpful information about car seat safety, basic baby care, safe sleep and medicines.
  • Get a copy of your baby’s discharge summary. This is a report about your baby’s treatment in the NICU and follow-up care he may need. You can share it with your baby’s health care providers.
  • Ask the NICU staff if your baby needs to have a car seat test before going home. For this test, your baby is put in his car seat while he’s still attached to monitors. This test makes sure that your baby doesn’t have breathing problems and that his heart beat stays steady when he’s in the seat.

What you can do at home

  • Buy a car seat for your baby.
  • Practice putting your baby’s car seat in your car. Ask your nurse where you can have it checked to make sure you put it in the right way.
  • Get your baby’s things ready, like a crib, clothes and diapers.
  • Decide who will give your baby medical care after she leaves the NICU. Make a follow-up appointment for her with the new provider.
  • Make a list of important telephone numbers, like your baby’s health care provider, medical specialists and emergency contacts. Keep this list with you and put a copy in a safe place at home.
  • Get any medical equipment that your baby needs and know how to use it.