Preparing to Bring Your Baby Home

Planning for the safe discharge of your infant starts at admission. The nurses will encourage you to, whenever possible, become involved in the care of your infant. The amount of interaction between you and your baby will be dependent upon your infant's condition and his or her tolerance to stimuli and activities.

Selecting a Pediatrician

We would like to know as soon as possible who your baby's pediatrician will be once your infant is ready to go home. If you have not already made this decision, please look into your options right away. You may need to get a list from your insurance company, talk to your HMO, or find a pediatrician who accepts your insurance or MediCal. If you would like to find a Providence Saint Joseph pediatrician, use the "Find a Doctor" feature on the Providence Saint Joseph website that can help you to find a pediatrician near you. Once you have made the decision, please let your baby's nurse know your pediatrician's nameand phone number. The NICU will send vital information regarding your baby to your pediatrician.

Infant CPR Classes

The Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center Maternity Program offers an Infant CPR course to all NICU parents free of charge. Classes are held weekdays from 7PM-9:30PM. Contact the Maternity Office at 818-847-4143 to RSVP for the next available course dates and locations. If Spanish is preferred, call 818-847-4424.

Car Seats

Every baby must have a car seat at time of discharge. If you have a premature or very small baby, pay close attention to the lower weight limit of any car seat you might buy. Most are for newborns that weigh more than 5 pounds. Some infants may need a seat that can accommodate a baby who weighs 4 pounds or less.

Please read the manufacturing instructions on know how to use and place the car seat in your car prior to discharge.

For infants less than 37 weeks gestation at birth, we will conduct a car seat challenge sometime in the few days prior to sending your baby home. We will ask you to bring in your car seat so that we can monitor your infant in the car seat. This way we can assure that the baby will tolerate being in the car seat for the drive home.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Prior to discharge all infants are given their first Hepatitis B Vaccine. We will provide you with information regarding this vaccine. If you would like to discuss it with the physician or you object to this vaccine, please let your infant's nurse know.

Hearing Screening

All infant are given a hearing screen prior to discharge. If they do not pass the hearing screen, you will be referred for a full diagnosis work-up. The hearing workup will be done as an outpatient. You will receive any needed information prior to discharge of your infant.


Circumcisions are usually done by the obstetrician. When the infant is within a few days of going home, please call your obstetrician to let him/her know that you would like to have your son circumcised. Make sure you have signed the consent form and that it is in the baby's chart prior to the obstetrician arriving to do the circumcision.

Sleep Study/Pneumogram

Some babies will have a sleep study done prior to discharge. This consists of recording breathing, airflow through the nose, heart rate and oxygen saturations for 10-12 hours. By reviewing this study the neonatologist can determine if your baby has an immature breathing pattern or other problems. Medication and/or a home monitor may be ordered based on the result of this study.

Parent Transition Room

For infants who require more complicated or specialized home care, our parent transition room can provide practice and peace of mind before going home. Just before discharge, after you have been thoroughly trained, parents are able to spend the night with their infant, providing all their care, yet comforted in the knowledge that the NICU staff is available to help just outside the door. This helps parents become comfortable with the care of their infant in a safe environment.

Discharge Medications

You will be provided with training and a complete list of any discharge medications for your infant. Most prescriptions are filled at AMC Pharmacy, located across the street at 2625 W. Alameda, (818) 841-0423. Before your infant is discharged, we will ask you to pick up the medications at the AMC Pharmacy and bring them to the NICU. We will teach you how to give the medications to your infant and help you work out a schedule for the medications.

Please continue to give the medication until you are told to discontinue it by the baby's health care provider. Find out if you have refills and call for a refill before you run out so that you are able to continue to medication, uninterrupted.

Special Equipment

Some babies require home oxygen, a home apnea monitor or other special equipment. Our case manager will arrange for all the needed equipment to be delivered to you. The company that supplies the equipment will train you to use it.

Discharge Follow-up

High Risk Infant Follow-Up (HRIF) Clinic:

Infants that were very small at birth or had other difficulties that may influence their development are referred to our HRIF Clinic. At the clinic Occupational and Physical Therapists who specialize in infant development examine the babies. If any problems are detected in their development the clinic will refer the infant for early treatment (physical/occupational/speech therapy) in order to maximize each infant's development. The HRIF Clinic also follows babies that are sent home on oxygen or apnea monitors.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus is very common and if we get it, most of us have signs of a cold. Very small premature infants are at risk of pulmonary problems if they contract the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Because it can be dangerous for very premature infants with small airways or chronic lung disease, these infants are eligible to be given a monthly injection (Synagis) during RSV season. At discharge we recommend these infants receive Synagis. They are referred to our clinic or to their pediatrician for monthly injections through the RSV season.

Other Specialists:

At discharge your infant may be referred to other specialists such as pulmonology (lung specialist), urology (urinary tract specialist), cardiology (heart specialist) or ophthalmology (eye specialist). Follow-up with these specialists is very important for the health of your baby. Please be sure to make the recommended follow-up appointments in a timely manner.

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