After spending days or even weeks in the hospital, you may be anxiously awaiting the moment when you finally get to take your baby home. For many parents, this day is met with a range of emotions. You may be excited to finally start getting your life back to normal. Yet, premature infants are also prone to health problems that may make you feel a little nervous. By the time the big day rolls around, you’ll be ready when you take the time to make sure that you are fully prepared.

Take Notes During the Discharge Debriefing

The majority of prematurely born infants are getting close to being ready to go home about two weeks from their original due date. As your baby gains strength and plumps up, their medical team will talk to you about how to get ready to take them home. A discharge debriefing typically covers essential information such as how to handle special equipment such as breathing monitors. You’ll also talk about follow-ups, how to administer any medications and signs to watch for that could indicate a developing problem.

Attend an Infant CPR and First Aid Course

One of the best things that you can do for your infant is take a CPR and first aid course. Even babies that are born on their due date can stop breathing, but premature babies are especially susceptible to sleep apnea and other respiratory conditions. Take advantage of one of those moments when your newborn is sleeping well to brush up on your life-saving skills.

Protect Your Baby During the First Weeks at Home

By the time that you leave the hospital, you should already have a pediatrician that you can take your baby to for their vaccinations and first checkups. Other than doctor’s visits and other essential tasks, it is best to keep your baby away from public places until their immune system gets stronger. At home, try to limit visitors, and remind those grandparents and other family members to wash their hands before holding your baby. When you’re alone, try to give your baby lots of skin-to-skin contact that helps them learn how to regulate their breathing and stay warm.

Those first weeks at home will fly by fast, especially when you’re handling late night feedings and kangaroo cuddle sessions. As sweet as it is to feel your baby’s hand curl around your finger, it is important to remember to practice some self-care, too. Ask someone that you trust to keep an eye on your baby as you catch up on sleep, and don’t be shy about asking someone else to take over the housework. Soon, your newborn will sleep through the night, and you’ll get into a regular routine that helps everyone stay healthy.