Continuing medical care after the NICU

You will probably visit your baby’s health care provider about 12 times during her first year. Here are some ways to take care of your baby’s health 

How will vaccinations help protect your baby?

All babies, including those who spend time in the NICU, need vaccinations. These vaccines help protect babies from serious diseases. Check with your baby’s provider about when your baby needs her vaccines. Brothers and sisters of the baby also need to be up-to-date on their vaccines. This helps keep them from passing infections to the baby. Everyone in the family, including parents, should get a flu shot before the baby comes home. Also, any adult who will have contact with the baby should get a pertussis, also called whooping cough, vaccine.

How can you protect your baby from RSV?

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a very common virus. It affects almost all children before they reach the age of two. Most of the time, it causes a slight cold. But, for babies who were born early, this virus can be more serious. Babies born early or who have heart or lung problems may benefit from a medicine to keep them from getting RSV. Ask your baby’s health care provider if your baby should get this medicine.

Is your baby's development on track?

Check in with your baby’s provider to make sure that your baby is developing in a healthy way. Is she rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking at certain points in her life? These are called developmental milestones. You may need to remind the provider that your baby spent time in the NICU, because this may affect when she reaches the milestones.

What should you do if your baby gets sick?

All babies get sick from time to time. But babies who were in the NICU are more likely to get an infection. You need to watch for signs that your baby may be sick, so you can get medical help right away.

What types of providers might your baby need to see if he has medical needs?

If your baby has a medical condition, she may need ongoing care from different health care providers such as an occupational therapist, physical therapist or speech therapist.

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Last reviewed: August, 2014