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When can a premature baby be discharged from the hospital?

Q: My wife delivered our baby during the 33rd week. The baby weighed 1.12 kgs. The child has been in the NICU for 3 weeks now and has gained 1.2 kg. The neonatologist feels that the child can be discharged once it reaches 1.3 kgs. Is this safe? For all the while that she has been in the NICU, she has not required any support systems (like the ventilator) other than the incubator. Does this mean that her respiratory system is normal? My wife was given steroids before delivery to take care of this. For how long would we have to treat her as a preemie and can she become normal as time progresses?

A:A premature baby is ready for discharge if: - She is accepting oral feeds, breastfeeds preferably - She is remaining warm (as indicated by warm and pink hands & feet) without the need of warmer care - If she is gaining wait steadily during the period before discharge. In case of your baby it should be about 15 gramms or so per day - She is free from infections and is not anaemic as determined by your doctor - Most importantly, the parents have been educated regarding home care of a young, low birth weight baby and are reasonably confident about it. This again has to be done by doctors taking care of your baby Your baby shall require careful looking after atleast during the first year of her life.

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