When Will My Baby Go Home
Whether your baby arrived a few weeks or a few months early, your little one needs at least that much time to grow and develop into a baby ready to go home, so keep your due date in mind.
Reaching Discharge Goals
Your baby will be discharged when he/she reaches all of these goals:
- Maintains temperature in an open crib
- Breathes well without extra oxygen, or with only a small amount that can be provided at home (usually ½ liter per minute or less)
- Takes food only by mouth
- Gains weight consistently
- Has no significant episodes of drops in heart rate (bradycardia), oxygen levels (desaturation), or breathing rate (apnea)
- Can ride in a car seat safely — A car seat test (also called an angle tolerance test) will be done to make sure breathing and heart rate remain normal while your baby sits in his/her car seat
Preparing for Discharge
What to Do Before Baby Goes Home
- Find a pediatrician for your baby. If you don’t have one in mind, we can help you find someone in your area who will take good care of your baby after he/she leaves the NICU.
- Complete infant CPR and safety class.
- Stay with your baby for at least 24 hours to make sure you are comfortable mixing formula, feeding, giving medicines, and providing other care.
- Learn the following:
- How to comfort your baby
- How to change your baby’s diapers and clothes
- Feed your baby
- Give your baby a bath
- Put your baby in a car seat the right way
- Give any special care that your baby will need at home
Don’t forget the UAMS Patient Education Department hosts a FREE infant CPR and safety class on Mondays at 11 a.m. and Fridays at 2 p.m. (except on holidays). This class is for caregivers of babies in the NICU at UAMS. You must sign up at the information desk on the 5th floor of the main hospital.