Frequently Asked Questions
Each baby is different. The doctors and nurses monitor each baby's progress and make adjustments to the ventilator. The goal is to remove the ventilator as soon as possible. The doctor can update you on your child's progress.
Deciding to breastfeed is a decision only you can make. It deserves careful thought. Experts agree that breastfeeding your baby for any length of time, no matter how short it is, will provide rewards for both you and your baby. Breast milk is the natural food source for infants younger than 1 year. Breastfeeding goes smoothly for most people. For others, it may take time and practice. However, with help from nurses, breastfeeding experts, your doctor, or support groups, you can enjoy the benefits and rewards of breastfeeding.
The doctors will start feeding the baby as soon as they think the baby can digest food. Premature babies may have problems digesting food and the doctors(s) and nurse(s) will carefully monitor the baby's progress. The baby may getting milk through a small tube passed from the mouth to the stomach. Later, when the baby is larger and stronger, the nurse will start bottle feedings or encourage breastfeeding. To learn more about NICU feedings, please download Caring for your baby in the NICU: Feeding.
Babies are usually discharged when they are taking all of their feedings by bottle, able to stay warm in a regular crib and gaining weight daily.
If your baby has been admitted to the NICU, then he/she needs close monitoring and special care. You will be allowed to visit at the baby's bedside as soon as you are able.
Your baby's length is measured at birth and then every week thereafter. He or she is weighed every day for about one week. Then the nurses may only weigh him or her 2-3 times a week. You can also ask the doctor or nurse practitioner to print a growth chart for your baby's keepsake book.
Most babies do not require a monitor for at-home use. However, if your baby is having apnea/bradycardia within a few weeks of expected discharge, you may be sent home with a monitor. The nurse can teach you infant CPR, and educate you on how to properly use the monitor while at home.