You have just spent the last several weeks and maybe months at the hospital. You have probably developed lasting relationships with some NICU staff and have become accustomed to the bings and bongs of the medical equipment around you. There are several things your hospital may require prior to discharge such as a car seat test and you will probably have to take an infant CPR test.
Following are some ideas from moms and dads detailing things you may want to do in those last days at the hospital.
Mehtap: I carried a notebook around with me for the 68 days my daughter spent at the NICU, wrote down all the information I got and questions that popped into my head. So one week before she finally came home, I made sure to cover as much as possible: meds, vitamins, how to check her heart rate and how often, doctors appointments, when to call the doctor, what to give a colicky baby etc. Exchanged phone numbers with my dearest nurses and moms at the NICU for those questions you will have as soon as you're home by yourself without immediate help from Nurses and Docs :) And I walked around and asked as many people about the must-have list on baby items just to be sure I had at least the important things lined up.
Tara: I also prepared a bin full of the preemie clothing and hats that the twins wore throughout their NICU stay, the blankets we had there for them, and even the mobile we had on their cribs. A lot of families rely on the donated clothing from the hospital, so it felt good to be able to contribute.
Sarah: if bottle feeding make sure to ask to take home some of the disposable bottle nipples. We had such a hard time matching that nipple. lol. It was the only one she would take. It was a very difficult transition for us :(
Michelle: We stayed four months and grew close to many of the staff at the hospital. For a few weeks before we left I took pictures with person holding our daughter. A few months after we got home I had all the pictures printed and we made a huge thank you poster to hang in their break room. Everyone who works in the NICU sometimes feels that they have a thankless job; I wanted to make sure they all knew we were forever grateful for all they did to save our daughter's life. It was their dedication and by the grace of God she is alive and doing wonderfully today.
Laura: If your hospital has a nesting room, be sure to take advantage and spend 24 hours with your baby. It is a great way to “ease” into caring for your little one 24/7 because you still have the nurses right there if you need them.
Taryn: Make sure you get all your prescriptions filled before you leave! A couple of our meds had to be compounded and there was only one pharmacy within 30 miles of our home that could do this. We made sure to have these done at the hospital pharmacy before we were discharged. And don’t forget vitamins, gas drops, Tylenol, etc. You should even grab some masks and surgical gloves too! Our nurse also packed a bag of “goodies” for us, including hospital grade sanitizer wipes, gauze pads, sterile water, the medical tape she liked to use to tape my daughter’s canula, some oral syringes and a few of the really big syringes we could use for feedings if we had to push a couple ounces in my daughter’s g-tube.