My grandson was born two days ago at only 33 weeks. He was 4.8lb and 18in I believe he is going to be in NICU for a few weeks, but what should we expect? What are they looking for to be able to release him?
Babies that are born at 33 weeks of gestational age are generally expected to do well and have good outcomes. The detailed criteria for discharge home may vary a little from hospital to hospital, but are centered around "developmental maturity". Your grandson must be able to do 3 things that a healthy full term infant can do:
1) Breath on his own: no apnea of prematurity. "Apnea" means "no breath", and results from immaturity of the brain center that controls breathing. As a premature infant develops, the brain center that controls breathing also develops and they stop having apnea.
2) Eating on his own: either breastfeeding or bottle feeding (or a combination) all feeds, no tube feeding.
3) Maintaining a normal body temperature in an open crib with appropriate baby clothes and blankets.
Most premature babies achieve these 3 developmental milestones somewhere between 35 - 40 weeks of corrected gestational age. For your grandson, this would be between 2 - 7 weeks after birth.
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