10 Things to Expect in the NICU

Requirements for Going Home
This baby's ready for the backseat -- and home.
This baby's ready for the backseat -- and home.

Taking your baby home isn't always as simple as strapping him or her into his car seat and heading out. Before you go, you'll meet with your baby's medical team to make a plan for his or her care and schedule follow-up visits.

Many hospitals require you to take parenting classes or demonstrate basic skills, such as feeding and bathing your baby, to the NICU nurses before you can take him or her home. Some require you to learn CPR. If your baby needs to remain on machines, such as an apnea monitor, nurses will teach you how to use them. Some NICUs also offer rooming-in, a sort of trial run, in which you stay in a hospital room with your baby overnight and handle all of his or her needs with medical staff nearby to help.

Having a baby in the NICU is a scary time in any parent's life, but with the right information and enough support, you'll keep your calm and make it through.