Chronic Lung Disease in Infants: Caring for Your Baby - Topic Overview
Home treatment is often needed for a baby who has been diagnosed
chronic lung disease. Before you take your newborn
home from the hospital, you need to be able to:
Recognize the symptoms and know what to do if
your baby has
difficulty breathing or stops
CPR in the unlikely event that your baby will need
Recognize the early signs of
upper respiratory infection, such as irritability,
mild fever, nasal stuffiness, cough, difficulty breathing, or wheezing. If
these signs develop, call your doctor.
Safely and adequately feed
your baby. A baby's nutritional needs are very important after he or she goes
home. Newborns who have chronic lung disease need to have extra calories and
protein in their diet. This helps their lungs heal and grow as normally as
possible. Most newborns can be fed with breast milk or formula when they go
Give the baby's prescribed medicines and monitor the
Call the doctor or seek emergency help if needed.
It will also be important for you to keep track of:
Your baby's weight as often as the doctor
requests. Watching for changes in a baby's weight is one way to tell whether
his or her nutritional needs are being met.
How much your baby
drinks and feeds. Most babies get more nutrients if they are fed frequently and
receive small amounts of fluid at a time. Allow your baby to rest during
feeding if needed.
After you are at home, try to establish a regular, predictable
routine of caring for your baby. Some suggestions to avoid problems linked
with chronic lung disease include the following:
Ask your doctor about how to schedule your baby's medicines.
Try to do caregiving tasks (such as feeding and bathing)
back-to-back or at the same time, between naps, to allow the baby to rest for
longer periods of time.
If the baby is having trouble breathing,
wait to do the care until he or she is breathing more easily.
exposing your baby to cold air, which can reduce the size of the lung airways
and make it harder for him or her to breathe.
Avoid having your
baby around people who have upper respiratory infections such as a cold or the
Avoid exposing your baby to smoke from cigarettes or woodstoves, which irritates the lungs.
Keep all appointments for
follow-up visits with your baby's doctor. At these visits, the doctor can detect problems with
growth or development.