Chronic Lung Disease in Infants
It is normal for parents to feel nervous at first about caring for their baby who has chronic lung disease, especially if the baby will need Reference oxygen therapy Opens New Window at home. You may be scared that you do not have the skills to give your baby the right care. You may be afraid that when you hold or touch your child, you will pull out his or her Reference nasal cannula Opens New Window (the tube that delivers extra oxygen through your baby's nose) by mistake.
While your baby is still in the hospital:
- Learn how to Reference care for a baby with chronic lung disease. Stay with your baby as much as you can. The more you are around your newborn in the hospital, the more comfortable you may feel about his or her care. You will be able to see and practice safe ways to hold, feed, dress, and change your baby. Learn how to use equipment, such as a Reference pulse oximeter Opens New Window, if needed. Know the signs of Reference breathing difficulty Opens New Window, such as wheezing, and learn how to perform CPR. Have doctors and nurses show you how to give medicines. It may help build your confidence to spend at least 24 hours at the hospital providing all of your newborn's care. This practice may also help you to set up a daily routine after you get home.
- Learn how to Reference care for your baby's nasal cannula. This is a flexible plastic tube that has a set of two prongs that can be placed in the nostrils to deliver oxygen to the body. You must know how to care for it as well as how to keep your baby comfortable.
- Plan ahead for extra help if you think you will need it. Some parents feel more confident if they know they will have extra help after they get home with their baby. Talk to your doctor about finding a home health care agency. These groups offer services that include home visits from nurses and other health professionals. Before leaving the hospital, schedule some of these visits. Also plan ahead to have any needed equipment delivered and set up. Use this hospital discharge checklist (What is a Reference PDF Opens New Window document?) to help you plan for the information and help you'll need after you are at home with your baby.
- Schedule routine follow-up visits with your doctor.
Your baby may only need to have oxygen therapy for a short time. After this treatment is no longer needed, your daily routine may become easier. But you will still need to protect your child from infections. Think about the following:
- Respiratory infections can cause more problems and lead to complications. Take extra care, such as Reference washing your hands frequently, to help prevent the spread of illness. If child care outside the home is needed, enroll in a small day care setting (three children or fewer) if possible. These practices are especially important during the winter and early spring months, to decrease your child's exposure to respiratory infection.
- Have your child Reference immunized Opens New Window.
- Schedule regular appointments with your doctor. Your child will need to be continually monitored for complications and any growth or development problems.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 27, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Jennifer Merchant, MD - Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine