When your baby's medical problems are resolved and she has reached an appropriate weight (generally greater than 1.7 kilograms or 3 pounds, 12 ounces), she can be moved from the NICU. Usually, a baby goes to a unit, often called an intermediate care unit, that offers more care than a traditional ward, but less than the NICU. At this point, you may also have the option to transfer your baby to an intermediate care unit in a community hospital closer to your home.
The staff of the intermediate care unit provides care for the umbilical cord, routine exams and evaluations, and continued monitoring of blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. The staff also ensures that the baby maintains an appropriate body temperature. In addition, family bonding is encouraged and supported by the staff during this transitional period.
If your baby's condition remains stable and he shows signs of being ready, staff begin to offer the baby feedings with a bottle, and you may begin to try to breast-feed. Babies usually are not ready to feed by mouth until about 34 weeks from the last menstrual period (about a month before the due date). If medical problems arise, your doctor may recommend that your baby return to the NICU.