Preparing to go home: parent tips

Read these parent tips and what parents say about preparing to go home from the neonatal unit.

Susan: "Have a few hours at home to clean, tidy and prepare if you can. Setting the crib up, putting the sheets on and positioning teddies made it real."

Helen: "The reality [of going home on oxygen] wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I had lots of hooks up around the walls to run the oxygen tubing through which helped keep things from getting tangled up.

"Being a preemie mum can also be a little lonely. When you go to toddler groups and people ask how old your baby is, it can be really tiring having to explain everything. Try to swap numbers with parents on your unit so you can have some buddies that understand you without having to explain everything."

"Try and get out for walks and fresh air. Don’t worry if it’s overwhelming, talk to your health visitor and always phone the hospital with any questions, they’ll want to hear how you are doing too. Even though your baby is a few months old, don’t be afraid to postpone visitors."


Lindsay: "Ask for help and support from family, friends and the NHS if you need it. Continue to ask questions and attend your follow up appointments. Don’t rush. Look after yourself.

"Have down time. Have tons of cuddles. Get used to drinking cold coffee! Enjoy your baby. Have the television or radio on for some background noise - it will seem mega quiet!"

Heather: "For those going home with oxygen, feeding tube or pumps, have a good play around with the equipment before you leave. My best advice is to just go with the flow.

"If you want to go out, go out and if you want to spend weeks at home that’s ok too. It's important you fit your baby around your health and welfare as well. My little one came home with a feeding tube and oxygen and I still brought her shopping and to soft play (she stayed in the pram) in the first week at home, just because that’s how I cope. Remember to be kind to yourself."

"Don't pretend you're fine if you're not. Do ask for help and support if you need it."


Niki: "I carried out all of my son’s cares at the hospital. He was coming home on oxygen, so getting confident with everything in a controlled environment made me much happier when it was time to bring him home. They literally let me do everything for the last few weeks, it was really great. By the time we got home I felt I could deal with all his needs."

"Your baby's entire life has been spent in hospital. Every moment you have ever had with them has been with trained medical professionals. Nothing quite prepares you for leaving that safety net.

"I found it helpful to remember how far my baby had come after many challenges. It is ok to feel like you don't know what you are doing. It is ok if every day is not full of total joy and you get tired and frustrated. Give yourself a break and allow yourself to feel frightened, sad, happy, unsure, tearful, ecstatic and confused at any moment."

The weirdest thing for me was just how silent it was at home. You’re used to hearing machines and people talking. Find some relaxing music that you can listen to when you’re home.

Dayle, mum to Max