We strive to enable you to bring your baby home as soon as possible. At home, the risk of infection is reduced and you have an opportunity to get to know one another in peace and quiet.
Some babies are looked after by the hospital's neonatal home care team for a time after leaving hospital. Some babies are followed up by the neonatal clinic, but for many babies, the child healthcare clinic (BVC) conducts follow-up health checks and administers vaccinations. If your baby becomes ill after discharge from the hospital, you should first contact your doctor (general practitioner) or call 1177 Vårdguiden (Medical Helpline). Your doctor can also refer you to a counsellor or psychologist for treatment and support.
Caring for your baby at home
Expressing breast milk with a pump should be performed immediately after breastfeeding or feeding. Wash your hands before you use the breast pump. After using the pump, the bottles and accessories should be rinsed with cold water and washed by hand or in a dishwasher and left to dry. The pump set, bottles and flanges (not tubes) should be boiled for five minutes once a day.
Breast milk that has been expressed can be stored in a refrigerator (+4-6°C) for a maximum of two days. Do not mix cold and warm breast milk, let the milk from the same day cool down before adding it to the cold milk. Put dates on the bottles.
Breast milk can be frozen within 24 hours of expressing it. The shelf life of frozen breast milk (when stored at a minimum of –18°C) is six months. The frozen milk must be thawed in the refrigerator overnight, or in a bain-marie with cold water for 2-3 hours. It will then last for another two days and must not be frozen again.
A newly opened container of baby formula has a shelf-life of one month. Mix the baby formula with boiled water which has been allowed to cool. In this way, you can prepare and store the baby formula for 24 hours in the refrigerator. The shelf life is the same if you add additives to the baby formula.
Many babies enjoy having a bath, but 1-2 times a week is more than sufficient. You can wash the baby between bath times. Folds in the neck and the ears, the groin and the armpits should be checked every day to ensure that these areas are clean and dry. The baby can have a bath even before its umbilical cord stump has fallen off.
Many babies get a red bottom because their stools are loose, a little corrosive and frequent. First, use a dry face cloth soaked in lukewarm water. Air it and keep it clean and dry. You can bathe red irritated skin in a little breast milk. Ointments can also be used to protect the skin. Please consult your nurse at the BVC (the child healthcare clinic).
A newborn baby needs peace and quiet to grow. Premature babies are more sensitive than other babies to sensory input such as light and sound. To the extent that the family and your baby are able, relatives and friends can visit, but limit the visits in the first few weeks.
No one who comes to visit should have a cold or other infectious diseases. Since children of preschool age have an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, visits by children of this age should be restricted. It may also be advisable to avoid environments where there are a lot of people, such as public transport or shopping malls. However, it is very beneficial to be outdoors. If someone in the family falls ill, they should avoid close contact with the baby, for example kissing or sneezing near the baby. Good hand hygiene can be maintained by washing hands with soap and water. During periods of infection, hand disinfectant should also be used.
It is also important to keep the baby's indoor environment free from smoke at all times, as newborn and premature babies' lungs are particularly sensitive to the irritation caused by tobacco smoke.
According to the recommendations from the National Board of Health and Welfare, the risk of sudden infant death decreases if the baby sleeps on its back when parents are not awake or nearby. Sleeping on its back is considered to be safer than sleeping on its side as the baby risks rolling onto its stomach if positioned on its side. The baby should sleep in its own bed in its parents' bedroom or on its own mattress in its parents' bed. The baby should have its own mattress and blanket to prevent it from getting too hot. Remove any excess pillows as they may end up falling on top of the baby.
Maintaining the right body temperature
In order for your baby to be able to go home, it must first be able to maintain the correct body temperature without a heated mattress.
As the baby's ability to control its own body temperature has not yet fully developed, you need to check its temperature on two occasions during its first few days at home to ensure that it is maintaining a body temperature of 36.7-37.2°C. A baby who gets too cold consumes a lot of energy trying to stay warm instead of gaining weight. A baby who gets too hot may get tired and less interested in eating. When the baby's temperature is stable, checking it by touching the baby's neck, back and stomach will suffice.
If your baby is cold:
- Hold your baby skin to skin
- Use a wrap carrier or equivalent
- Use a hat when indoors
- Use lots of layers of clothing/bedding in the baby's cot
Parents know their baby best. Therefore, the observations that you make of your baby are very important.
Pay particular attention to:
- The baby's skin colour, for example pallor
- If the baby is tired and does not have the energy to feed
- The baby's body temperature.
- A runny nose, blocked nose, sticky eyes. Have saline solution at home.
- If the baby starts to vomit, irrespective of feeding times, e.g. in a horizontal position and if it grimaces and loses its appetite.
- If the baby's belly button is red and sticky – wash it with saline solution and a swab
Feel free to lie the baby on its stomach a few times a day when it is awake, as this helps the baby to strengthen its neck muscles.