ZocdocAnswersHow should one take care of pre-term babies?

Question

How should one take care of pre-term babies?

When I take him home will I have to raise him differently than I raised my first child?

Answer

First of all, congratulations on your new baby! It sounds like you are getting ready to be able to take him home, probably from the neonatal intensive care unit, so that is great news! I am not sure how early your son was born or what complications he may have had while in the neonatal intensive care unit. All of these things are obviously important for determining what sort of followup he will need at what home care he may need. Many times, babies who are born premature may go home on medications or on special milk formula that gives them extra calories. This may be the most obvious difference. Also, most babies born prematurely are at higher risk of getting sick from respiratory infections. Therefore, in addition to normal vaccines, these babies require a special shot to prevent infection with the RSV virus in the fall. Most babies who have been in the neonatal intensive care unit also go home connected with special early intervention services, to maximize their potential for learning and brain growth. Other issues may also be on the table, depending on whether your son had any lung, heart, or other complications, but you will have to discuss these with your neonatologist.

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