What to Expect at Your First Appointment at the NICU Follow-up Clinic
Bringing home your baby from the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a wonderful and joyous time. It can also be overwhelming. Your NICU graduate may be coming home on oxygen or need special medical equipment. Or, perhaps you’re just eager to track your baby’s growth and development—and make sure they’re thriving.
Our specialists at the NICU Follow-up Clinic understand this. We’re here to work closely with you and your baby to monitor their health and wellness at every stage. Our team includes physicians and providers across specialties, which means you can be sure your baby will receive the care they need. Our team includes neonatal physicians, advanced care providers, speech-pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nutritionists, social workers and many others.
During your first appointment, our team will evaluate your baby and create a plan that addresses medical concerns or any developmental delays, such as feeding issues and fine or gross motor skills. We’ll also be here at answer any questions you have or address any concerns.
You’re an important member of your baby’s care team. Our team welcomes you to each appointment and encourages you to participate at every stage of caring for your little one. Providers may even share advice, exercises or activities you can do at home to help your baby develop at a pace appropriate for them. You’re also invited to bring one another adult with you—whether that’s your partner or a trusted family member or friend.
Making an Appointment at the NICU Follow-Up Clinic
Most of the time, babies are referred to us before they’re discharged from a NICU. We also accept referrals from pediatricians or specialty providers.
Best of all, you can call us directly to request an appointment. Our team will gather some information about your baby, including your concerns and why you think your baby may benefit from the NICU Follow-up Clinic. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
On the Day of Your Visit to the NICU Follow-Up Clinic
Leaving home with a baby can be overwhelming. Many of the babies we see also require medical equipment, which can make the struggle even more challenging. Our team is here to help you however we can. From the moment you check-in at our registration desk, we’ll be here to lend a hand and carry whatever equipment you may have.
What to Bring
In addition to necessary medical and baby gear, you’ll also need to bring the following to your baby’s appointment:
- A photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.) so we can update your personal information during the registration process.
- A bottle of formula or pumped milk so we can evaluate your baby’s feedings. You can also bring the formula that you are using and prepare the bottle during your appointment.
- Medications your child is taking.
Please allow about 10 minutes to park and walk to our location. Plan to arrive at the clinic 5-10 minutes before the scheduled start time. Once you arrive, please check in at the registration desk, which is to the right when you exit the elevator. They will then direct you to the waiting area and, if needed, help you with any medical equipment or supplies you have for the appointment.
At Your Appointment
We know you likely have many questions about your baby’s health and wellness. Our initial appointments (and follow-ups) allow for plenty of time to discuss your concerns with your provider.
Your baby’s initial appointment will be with a neonatal physician / fellow or an advanced care provider with experience caring for NICU graduates. During the visit, they will:
- Perform a physical exam
- Ask about any growth or development concerns
- Discuss current medications and possible future medications
- Review current therapies and medical care
- Ask about medical history, family history and social history (who lives in the house with you, etc.)
- Discuss follow-up appointments
They may also:
- Discuss home care services
- Complete development testing
- Review current research opportunities your baby may qualify for
You may also meet with a dietitian to discuss formula or feeding needs. A social worker is also available to connect your baby and family with any resources or support that are needed. We can also refer you to a psychologist to help manage the stress and anxiety that often accompanies caring for a high-risk infant.
This initial appointment typically takes 1½ to 2 hours. We understand that this can be a long time for babies. We have toys on hand to help distract your little one and keep everyone happy and comfortable. Snacks and drinks are also available for our families during these lengthy appointments.
A follow-up appointment will be scheduled before you leave.
After Your Visit to the NICU Follow-Up Clinic
You will receive an After Visit Summary before you leave. This includes important information about topics discussed, follow-up appointments or referrals to other departments.
Your child’s pediatrician is an important partner on our care team. Our office staff will send your baby’s provider a summary of the visit. We also will submit a bill to the insurance company