Preemie Care Checklist

by Stephanie Wood

Preemie Care Checklist

Coming home with any new baby is challenging, but caring for a preemie brings its own set of worries. To make sure you have helpful medical hands on deck, Edith McCarthy, M.D., a former NICU neonatologist, suggests you ask your pediatrician the following questions about his brand of preemie care.

[CHECKBOX] Will you be the one seeing my baby at each office visit? Your preemie will benefit most from seeing the same pediatrician at every checkup.

[CHECKBOX] Do you have separate sick and well waiting rooms, or are appointments arranged so that well visits take place at a separate time of day? This physical separation will help you avoid exposing your vulnerable preemie to illness.

[CHECKBOX] Do you put a strong emphasis on the specific nutritional needs of preemies? Almost all should be given Neosure, a special formula with more calories and calcium, for at least the first six months, notes Dr. McCarthy.

[CHECKBOX] How quickly will you respond if I have to leave a message with the answering service? Your doc should accept that preemie parents are going to need more reassurance and advice.

[CHECKBOX] How willing are you to provide specialist referrals and arrange early-intervention services?

[CHECKBOX] Will you give my preemie vaccines on schedule? Preemies definitely need to be immunized, says Dr. McCarthy, so there should be no delay. Be sure yours will receive Synagis to protect against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), especially during the winter months (October to April).