Doctor’s appointments after your preemie comes home

Even when the big day comes and your preemie is ready to leave the NICU, there’s still a lot of work to be done. One thing to keep in mind is that your preemie will need regular doctor appointments for a significant amount of time after being released from the NICU, and check-ups are the best way to learn about and support his development.

Before you leave the NICU 

Your baby’s health care team will develop a care plan for you to use as you navigate life outside the NICU. This plan might include special instructions for feeding, things to watch for, an outline of expected milestones, and professional resources for you to use. Parents often schedule their baby’s first real-world checkup before they even leave the NICU – it’s that important to keep an eye on preemies!

After the NICU

Every preemie has a unique set of needs, but one thing they all need is consistent check-ups starting soon after they leave the NICU. Your preemie may need an appointment anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks after they come home, depending on what’s in their care plan. A preemie may also need to visit specialists for specific health concerns. Some specialists who work with preemies include neurologists, ophthalmologists, and physical therapists.

What happens at a first appointment?

This also varies depending on the baby’s needs, but your baby’s provider will probably do a few things at the first appointment.
  • Assess your baby’s health
  • Ask how your baby’s been doing
  • Make sure that your baby has been feeding well
  • Record your baby’s weight and take measurements (if your hospital didn’t already take these)

Once your baby is set up with appointments with all of the providers that he needs, it’s a good idea to set aside some time to post the phone numbers of all your baby’s providers around your house for quick reference. Doctor’s visits are really important for keeping your preemie up to date on his health care, and they’ll make the transition from the hospital to your home that much smoother.


Sources
  • “Going home: a parent’s checklist.” PreemieCare. Raising Multiples, 2009. Web.
  • “Taking your preemie home.” Kids Health.  The Nemours Foundation, 2016. Web.
  • “Your newborn: Bringing baby home from the hospital.” Caring for Kids. Canadian Pediatric Society, Jan 2014. Web.
  • Caitlin Berens. “What to expect at baby’s first doctor appointment.” Parents. Meredith Corporation, 2016. Web. 

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