It is normal for parents to feel
nervous at first about caring for their baby who has
chronic lung disease, especially if the baby will need
oxygen therapy at home. You may be scared that you do
not have the skills to give your baby the right care. You may be afraid that
when you hold or touch your child, you will pull out his or her
nasal cannula (the tube that delivers extra oxygen
through your baby's nose) by mistake.
While your baby is still in
Learn how to
care for a baby with chronic lung disease. Stay with your baby as much as you
can. The more you are around your newborn in the hospital, the more comfortable
you may feel about his or her care. You will be able to see and practice safe
ways to hold, feed, dress, and change your baby. Learn how to use equipment,
such as a
pulse oximeter, if needed. Know the signs of
breathing difficulty, such as wheezing, and learn how
to perform CPR. Have doctors and nurses show you how to give medicines. It may
help build your confidence to spend at least 24 hours at the hospital providing
all of your newborn's care. This practice may also help you to set up a daily
routine after you get home.
Learn how to
care for your baby's nasal cannula. This is a flexible plastic tube that has
a set of two prongs that can be placed in the nostrils to deliver oxygen to the
body. You must know how to care for it as well as how to keep your baby
Plan ahead for extra help if you think you will need
it. Some parents feel more confident if they know they will have extra help
after they get home with their baby. Talk to your doctor about finding a home
health care agency. These groups offer services that include home visits from
nurses and other health professionals. Before leaving the hospital, schedule
some of these visits. Also plan ahead to have any needed equipment delivered
and set up. Use this hospital discharge checklist(What is a PDF document?) to help you plan for the information and help you'll need after you are at home with your baby.
Schedule routine follow-up visits with your doctor.
Your baby may only need to have oxygen therapy for a short
time. After this treatment is no longer needed, your daily routine may become
easier. But you will still need to protect your child from infections. Think about
Respiratory infections can cause more problems
and lead to complications. Take extra care, such as
washing your hands frequently, to help prevent the
spread of illness. If child care outside the home is needed, enroll in a small
day care setting (three children or fewer) if possible. These practices are
especially important during the winter and early spring months, to decrease
your child's exposure to respiratory infection.
Have your child
appointments with your doctor. Your child will need to be continually monitored
for complications and any growth or development problems.