Taking Your Baby Home

Taking Your Baby Home

Taking your baby home will be exciting, but you might also feel nervous. Rush staff, specifically our discharge planners, will make sure you have the knowledge and ability to safely care for your baby at home.

Discharge Planners

Rush discharge planners are nurses or social workers who develop care plans for babies leaving the NICU. While you will work with them most at the end of your baby’s stay, discharge planners start their work when you are admitted to the NICU.

Our planners combine teaching, discussions and hands-on practice throughout your NICU stay to prepare you for returning home.

Car Seat Test

Before discharge, your baby must show that they can tolerate sitting in a car seat to prepare them for the ride home. You will be asked to bring your car seat to your baby’s room within one week before your baby is ready to go home.

Your baby will sit in the seat for 90 to 120 minutes, or the length of your car ride home if it’s longer, to make sure they can travel safely. During this test, a nurse or respiratory therapist will monitor your baby’s heart rate and breathing.  

It is also important that you know how to correctly install your car seat before taking your baby home. Local police or fire departments can often provide instruction or confirm that your car seat is safe. Please call them well before the day of discharge to check your car seat installation.

Follow-up Care

Many babies, after staying in the NICU, will receive follow-up care from their pediatricians. Our NICU team will transfer your medical records so your baby has a smooth transition with their next medical provider.

Some babies may require additional care after their NICU treatment. Rush offers pediatric subspecialists to care for complex medical conditions, and Rush University Medical Center provides a Neonatal High-Risk Follow-Up Clinic.

Neonatal High-Risk Follow-up Clinic

The Rush University Medical Center Neonatal High-Risk Follow-Up Clinic partners with you to care for your baby and their development after you leave the hospital. Our clinic most often treats patients with the following:

  • A birth weight less than 1500 grams (3 pounds, 5 ounces)
  • A birth gestation before 30 weeks
  • A history of treatment with whole body cooling for possible hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
  • Complex congenital heart disease or treated with ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation)

The clinic is made up of a multidisciplinary team who monitors infants for growth and neurologic development up to 2 years adjusted. Our providers include the following:

  • A neonatologist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Pediatric registered dietitian
  • Developmental psychologist
  • Pediatric physical therapist

We’ll schedule your baby for visits at approximately 4, 8 and 20 to 22 months of age (adjusted for premature babies), and additional visits may be scheduled as needed.

Our clinic takes place each Wednesday at the Rush University Medical Center Professional Building, Suite 710, 1725 W. Harrison St. in Chicago. For more information or to reschedule an appointment, call (312) 942-6640.