Adjusting to a newborn at home
Preterm infants may have got used to the noisy environment during their long stay at the hospital, where there is a clear distinction between day and night. After bringing the newborn home, parents should pay careful attention to the home environment and make appropriate adjustments to care for the infant.
- Parents can keep some music or a radio playing at home to prevent the preterm infant from feeling uncomfortable with the sudden change to a quiet environment.
- Meanwhile, the lighting at home should not be too dim to avoid a sudden change in the environment which may cause discomfort to the infant.
- Parents can take a week or two to make step-by-step adjustments to restore the home back to normal.
- Parents should maintain proper hygiene at home and avoid going out or visits by friends and family in order to protect the infant from bacterial infections and being over-stimulated.
- Parents should pay careful attention to changes in weather and room temperature, and dress the infant appropriately. They should stay alert to the infant’s body temperature, as its health and emotions are affected when feeling too warm or too cold.
- Preterm infants generally need more sleep after being discharged from the hospital. Parents should ensure that their baby can sleep well.
- When feeding the infant, parents should follow the feeding schedule from the hospital to ensure the baby
- For infants who need supplemental oxygen through a ventilator, instructions from the doctor should be followed during feeding to minimize the risk of suffocation of the infant.
Parents can provide their infant with appropriate stimuli in a safe and clean environment to help it adapt to the external environment.
- Colourful pictures or sound-emitting toys can be hung around the baby’s room to provide him with different visual and audio stimuli.
- Parents can wear colourful clothes or accessories as visual stimulus and encourage the baby to touch them
- A lack of concentration from the baby is a sign that it is tired, parents should stop the activity and let the baby rest.
- Be gentle and slow with holding and carrying the baby or changing its posture. Parents should change the position of the infant in a proper way and provide sufficient support to its neck.