From Shooter ~ I know that there are certain phases that one goes through with bringing home a newborn. Since I work in an almost all female office, I've often heard the talks of new moms regarding how long it took before their babies would sleep through the night, etc. What I'm wondering is, what it is like to bring a baby home who was a preemie and should have been inside his mom all this time, but has actually spent his time immersed in the world of tubes and needles, boops and beeps? He'll be new to being in his new home, but he will also have been outside his mom for a couple of months by that time. Are they advanced over their peers who come home after just a couple of days outside mom and able to sleep better, etc, or because they are in a place where they are constantly being disturbed for tests and vitals and such, are they even more fitful with sleeping since they're used to a more hectic schedule? Thoughts and opinions please? Thanks!
From JaJa ~ When Cody came home, I kept the house noisy. He couldn't sleep if it was too quiet as the NICU is never quiet. And I also had to wake him every 4 hours to eat for a few weeks too. Eventually you'll get into your own schedule. Just follow his lead. I know on our baby board we have two year olds that still don't sleep through the night. Every child is different including preemies. You'll all figure it out together.
From eastertwingles ~ When mine came home, no one slept an entire night for several weeks. I don't know why but they cried all the time, day and night. Nothing we did helped.
From IsaiahsMommyK ~ When we brought Isaiah home from the NICU, we had to leave the TV on at night for noise and some light. He couldn't sleep if it was silent and dark. We were up every three hours for feeding, but after a little while that was just how it was. Now things are a lot easier.
From JenT ~ After a month in NICU, my daughter didn't seem to need any extra noise at home in order to sleep. That said, she's also still not the best sleeper. She has yet to consistently sleep 5-6 hours straight each night (and she's 2). So I think each baby will just be different and their own unique little being.
From bubba32 ~ It took Erika awhile to sleep through the night. I think part of it was her feeding schedule. In the hospital they fed her every three hours including waking her up at night. When they are so small they really need the feedings. When I got her home they had advised not to let her go more than 4 hours without feeding. She woke up every 3 hours consistently. Those first few weeks (months) were hard. I had to go back to work a week after she came back from NICU so I was getting up 2-3 times a night. DH helped but it really was mainly me. He has always had a much harder time with missing sleep than me. I remember crying just from sheer exhaustion. This is not to scare you because as someone else said, every baby is different. Now Erika sleeps 6-9 hours without waking, and she is big enough that I do not worry about her stomach being empty as much. Mostly she sleeps from 9 - 10pm to 5-6am. I can deal with it now because I know I usually can get 6 hours or so of uninterrupted sleep and then after she eats she goes back to sleep right away. So even if those first few weeks or months are really hard, realize that there will be an end in sight!!
From TracyR ~ Our NICU let me bring Brendan home from the hospital a lot earlier than expected because I was doing everything for him anyway and he did better for me than he did the nurses. He was on a monitor and oxygen 24 hours a day. His nervous system was really sensitive yet so he could handle some noise but not a whole lot. He would let me know if it was too much by setting off his monitor or just showing signs of distress. As for sleeping through the night, with a full term baby you can usually feed them whenever they want fed. But sometimes with a preemie you have to keep the feeding schedule at home for awhile to keep them gaining weight. I had to wake Brendan for feedings and meds every 4 hours around the clock but as soon as we were able to stop that, he just automatically slept through the night. My 2 year who was full term, sometimes still has problems with sleeping all night. So I think, too, it has to do with the individual child.
From vonda ~ A few days before we brought Adriana home, we moved into a part of the NICU at our hospital called a Family Learning Center. It was wonderful. It was like a hotel room, but we were totally responsible for her care while we were staying there. The nurses were at a station outside the door if we needed them. The first night was kind of rough because we were not used to sleeping with her in the room, and she was not used to the quiet. One of the nurses suggested we turn on the tv This made me happy because I have to have noise to sleep. We also left a lamp on for her. To this day, we still sleep like that. She is still in the room with us. As others have mentioned, we had to get up for about three months and feed her every three hours or so. Believe me, she let us know if we did not feed her in time.