Discharge from the NICU

Babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are here for a variety of health concerns, making it difficult to predict a discharge date. Your care team will communicate with you throughout your stay, keeping you up to date with their best projection of when baby can go home.

When is it safe to leave the NICU?

Each baby’s care team will consider various aspects of your baby’s health, and make the decision to send baby home when the criteria are met safely and independently. Signs that we look for include:

  • The baby is nursing or taking bottles consistently.
  • The baby is gaining weight steadily.
  • The baby can maintain his or her body temperature in an open crib.
  • The parents/guardians have completed necessary education and training, and can demonstrate their ability to safely and individually care for their baby.

Preparing to Leave the NICU

While your baby is in the NICU, use the time to get everything ready for discharge. There are things you will need to do in order to have the baby’s care team sign off before you leave:

  • You must learn infant CPR. Your nurse will be able to offer information to help you.
  • If you haven’t already done so, choose a pediatrician for your baby. Make sure you check with your insurance company to confirm the doctor you choose is covered.
  • Buy a size-appropriate car seat, and properly install it in your car. We can provide you assistance with installation.
  • Know your baby’s nutrition plan and become familiar with how to feed them.
  • Purchase diapers, clothes and other needed baby supplies.
  • Visit the pharmacy and get any medications the baby may need once home, as directed by your medical team.