Having a premature baby means a longer stay in the hospital for little ones — a temporary housing arrangement that can have parents counting the minutes until they can bring their newborn home with them. While you're waiting for the doctors to give you the green light, you may start to look for signs your premature baby can go home soon to ease the waiting period. Each step in the process is a small success to celebrate, and a good indication that you will be bringing your bundle of joy back to your cozy casa before long.
According to the March of Dimes, there are certain milestones a premature baby must meet while in the hospital in order to be cleared for discharge. Although this list is short, each item is crucial to the baby's health and wellbeing. Depending on your baby's unique set of circumstances, the length of her stay in the hospital after birth can last between a few days to months. Whatever the length of stay, it's no doubt a difficult wait for parents. Which is why it's comforting to keep in mind that each time you check one of these five milestones off the list, your baby is that much closer to joining you at home.
1. She Is Breathing On Her Own
When your baby no longer needs the assistance of oxygen, it's a good sign she'll be heading home soon. According to Very Well, "one of the first milestones that many premature babies meet is being able to keep their oxygen saturation high without needing extra oxygen or other respiratory support."
2. He Regulates His Own Body Temperature
If you're little one has been sleeping in a incubator to keep her body temperature regulated, once she makes the switch into a crib, you'll probably be able to take her home soon after. As the website for the March of Dimes pointed out, once your baby is able to keep herself warm, with no assistance, you're that much closer to bringing her home.
3. She Feeds By Mouth
At first, some premature babies receive their feedings via tubes. Once your baby can take a feeding by mouth, either bottle or breast, it is one more check on the list for going home, as Kid's Health reported.
4. He's Gained Weight
Babies born prematurely typically have a low birth weight, which needs to increase before they can be released from the hospital. As the website for Raising Children reported, your baby needs to gain weight before she can go home. This may happen faster once she starts to feed by mouth.
5. They Pass All Tests
Since health issues can vary on a case to case basis, each premie can have different reasons for a prolonged stay at the hospital. According to Healthy Children's website, making sure all medical problems are resolved and all related tests have been past are necessary before letting your baby leave the hospital.