Updated April 2014, next review April 2017

Taking your premature baby home from hospital

Taking your baby home FAQs

The early days at home with your premature baby can be a steep learning curve, especially if he still needs support with breathing or feeding. We answer some of your questions.

I don't feel at all ready to take my baby home, but the staff wants to discharge us. What can I do?

Talk through your fears with the team. Few new parents feel completely confident taking their baby home - especially if they have health problems. Once you get home however, you may be surprised at how comfortable you feel with the situation.

Remember that you will still be supported - there is a network of healthcare professionals who are responsible for checking that everything is going OK. Make sure you have the details of members of the healthcare team before you leave the hospital and do not hesitate to call them if your are unsure of anything, or to discuss any concerns.

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I'm worried that my baby is too cold - it was so warm in the unit and now we're home without even central heating.

Your baby won't be discharged until the healthcare team is confident he can cope in a normal environment. That means that he will now get used to lower temperatures.

Try not to bundle him up too much, but if you go outside in the cold, always make sure he has a hat. If he is naked, always keep him away from drafts, and if he gets wet make sure you dry him quickly. Read more about the best temperatures and bedding here.

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I'm confused about how much I should be keeping my premature baby away from strangers. I'm so worried about infection, I almost feel as if we should be staying in all the time.

The answer is to try and keep a balance. A busy shopping centre is probably best avoided until your baby is a bit older, but a visit to the park on a dry, sunny day would be better for him than staying at home.

Lead as active and enjoyable life as you can while avoiding extremely crowded situations such as public transport or crowded shops or clinics. Read more about avoiding infection here.

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My baby seems to cry all the time. Help!

There could be all sorts of reasons why your baby is crying - he could be hungry, overtired, wanting your attention, or feeling discomfort from wind. If the crying happens around the time of feeds, it could be colic or wind, or it could be a change of temperature, an unfamiliar smell, or a range of other causes.

However, it is natural for babies to cry, and the sound of a baby crying can be very distressing. Some parents say it seems as if a baby has been crying for half an hour when in reality it's only been a minute or two. If you are concerned that your baby may be unwell, contact your healthcare team, especially if there are any other symptoms that you are worried about. You also may find it helpful to contact Cry-sis.

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My breasts are feeling sore and lumpy - is it mastitis?

Your breasts may simply be very full if you have been breastfeeding less frequently, or you may have a blocked duct. These can be quite painful, and it can help to stand under a warm shower and try to manually express milk from the sore areas. Keep an eye out for any flu-like symptoms, as this could indicate that you have mastitis, which needs to be treated immediately.

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Call our midwives

Remember: Tommy's midwives are ready to answer your questions, no matter how trivial you think they might be. Find out more about our PregnancyLine service.


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