Making the Most of Rooming-In with Your Preemie

PreemieMaking the most of rooming-in with preemie baby

When you have a baby in the NICU, it’s a very momentous event when he meets all his milestones to graduate from the NICU. You might feel several emotions – excitement, anxiety, nervousness, joy. Very soon you’ll get to bring your newborn baby home! One way to build confidence and feel more prepared for caring for your infant independently is by “rooming-in” with preemie baby in the hospital before discharge. You’ll need to check with the hospital staff to see if this is an option.

What is rooming-in?

Rooming-in involves keeping your baby in your hospital room with you full time, both day and night. Usually, rooming-in happens over one or two nights. Sometimes it’s hard to know what questions to ask the nurses and doctors in the hospital until you actually try caring for him yourself. Rooming-in gives you the chance to discover any potential deficiencies in your training and grow more comfortable with using needed medical equipment. It’s an ideal situation to have a trial run in taking care of your newborn baby while the hospital staff is nearby as it gives you the opportunity to handle your newborn’s care independently but have support and guidance as needed.

Do this before rooming-in

To make the most of rooming-in with preemie baby, you should have taken the time to learn all you need to know about any special care your infant will need at home. Ask the nurses and doctors questions. Watch discharge videos, if available, about feeding, transporting, and bathing your baby. Learn some different methods for putting your baby to sleep and how to keep him safe through various activities. Sometimes, preemies ready for discharge from the NICU still require medication, special equipment, or other tools at home. Do you know how to administer all his medications by yourself? Are you able to use equipment such as oxygen or an apnea monitor with confidence? This is a good time for learning and building the knowledge you will need to feel confident at home with your preemie baby.

Practicing what you’ve learned

You’ve likely heard the saying “practice makes perfect.” Rooming-in with preemie baby gives new parents the chance to practice taking care of him, making for a smoother transition at home. When rooming-in with preemie baby, you can gain:

  • Self-confidence in providing for your baby’s needs
  • An opportunity to bond and get to know one another better
  • Greater success with breastfeeding, if you desire to do so
  • Plenty of skin-to-skin (kangaroo care) and cuddles
  • Practice! All the watching and waiting while your baby was in the NICU is nearly finished, and it’s time to put your new parenting skills to use!

Rooming-in with preemie baby is a wonderful way to transition from NICU living to life at home together. It gives you the chance to really spend time together and listen to all the noises and see all the movements your new little one is capable of. By seizing the opportunity to room-in, you can build some self-assurance that you are capable of caring for your newborn at home.

Do you think rooming-in with your baby would be helpful? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


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