Parenting Your Preemie After the NICU

Parents at home with their babyPreemies often need special care after leaving the NICU, sometimes in a high-risk newborn clinic or early intervention program. In addition to the regular well-child visits and immunizations that all infants get, preemies get hearing and eye check-ups at times.

Careful attention is paid to the development of the nervous system, including the achievement of motor skills like smiling, sitting and walking, as well as the positioning and tone of the muscles.

Speech and behavioral development also are important areas during follow-up. Some preemies may need speech therapy or physical therapy as they grow up. Babies who had complications in the NICU may need additional care from medical specialists.

Family support is also important. Caring for a preemie is even more work than caring for a full-term baby, so the high-risk clinics pay special attention to the needs of the family as a whole.