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Many families feel overwhelmed by the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) experience. Although they long for the day when they can take their baby home, they may feel apprehensive and unprepared when that day finally arrives. Baby Steps to Home was created to standardize the discharge pathway and parent teaching that happens during the baby’s stay in the NICU. It is designed to provide parents with information appropriate for their baby’s condition and progress toward discharge.

Each topic is presented in two parts. The first section is written specifically for nurses but can be used by anyone on the NICU team. Current, evidence-based content is provided, along with references to consult for more information. The second section, written for parents, presents the content in easy-to-understand language that promotes consistent messaging between the parent and nurse sections. The parent-focused content discusses common issues and diagnoses parents may encounter while their baby is in the NICU, suggests questions to ask their baby’s provider, and provides practical information and tips parents will need now and after discharge.

Parents are essential to maximizing the long-term outcomes of NICU patients. This guide will be a useful tool in the education and preparation of parents for discharge, so that all parents of NICU babies feel prepared and ready to care for their babies at home.


The parent-focused sections of Baby Steps to Home may be modified and printed so each unit can add their hospital’s logo and other specific directions or information before handing the information to a parent. No further permission is required for this use. All other format and use requests require written permission from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN).

The content of Baby Steps to Home may not be translated into another language without written consent from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN).

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Baby Steps to Home was developed by NANN after need for its content emerged from discussions of the Preemie Health Coalition in 2007-2009, led by the American Academy of Pediatrics, March of Dimes, and NANN. The first edition was launched in 2013; an update of the first edition was launched in 2018.

Special Thanks

Special thanks are extended to the following individuals, whose leadership and foresight made this project possible:

  • Robin Bissinger, PhD APRN NNP-BC FAAN
    National Association of Neonatal Nurses
  • Jim Couto, MA
    American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Judith S. Gooding
    March of Dimes
  • Rebecca South, BSN RNC-NIC
    National Association of Neonatal Nurses
  • Suzanne Staebler, DNP APRN NNP-BC FAANP FAAN
    National Association of Neonatal Nurses
  • Dionne Wilson, CAE
    National Association of Neonatal Nurses


  • Suzanne Staebler, DNP APRN NNP-BC FAANP FAAN, Project Director
    Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University
    Atlanta, GA
  • Rebecca South, BSN RNC-NIC, Project Leader
    Texas Health Resource Plano
    Plano, TX

2018 Update Content Developers

  • Gail Bagwell, DNP CCNS
    Nationwide Children’s Hospital
    Columbus, OH
  • Bobby Bellflower, DNP NNP-BC
    University of Tennessee Medical Group
    Memphis, TN
  • Lindsey Canon, MSN RN RNC-NIC NEA-BC
    Texas Health Resource Fort Worth
    Fort Worth, TX
  • Mary Claire Connelly, BSN Student
    Emory University
    Atlanta, GA
  • Margaret Conway-Orgel, DNP NNP-BC
    Medical University Of South Carolina
    Charleston, SC
  • Juanita Davis, MS NNP-BC
    Emory University School Of Nursing
    Atlanta, GA
  • Stephanie Eidson, MSN RNC-NIC
    Texas Health Resources
    Fort Worth, TX
  • Sue Goddard, MBA BSN RNC-NIC
    Children's Medical Center-Plano
    Plano, TX
  • Donna Johnson, RN
    Grady Hospital
    Atlanta, GA
  • Karen McDonald, DNP NNP-BC
    Hampton, NJ
  • Veronica Schaedler, BSN RN IBCLC LCCE
    Texas Health Resources Plano
    Plano, TX
  • Patti Scott, DNP NNP-BC NPT-C
    Mid Tennessee Neonatology Associates P.C.
    Nashville, TN
  • Roxanne Stahl, MSN NNP-BC
    Gateway Medical Center
    Clarksville, TN
  • Ruth Snyder, NNP
    Midatlantic Neonatal Associates
    Morristown, NJ
  • Tracy Wasserburger, MSN NNP-BC
    Campbell County Memorial Hospital
    Gillette, WY
  • Bresney Crowell, MSN NNP-BC
    Medical University of South Carolina
    Charleston, SC

1st Edition Content Content Developers

Special thanks to authors & reviewers participating in development of the 1st edition:

  • Lynn Antonawich, MS RN
  • Lindsey Canon, MSN RNC-NIC
  • Allison Cate, MSN APN NNP-BC
  • Margaret Conway-Orgel, MSN RNC NNP-BC
  • Piper Davis, BSN RNC-NIC
  • Taryn Edwards, MSN CRNP NNP-BC
  • Lucia Giannattasio Hill, RN
  • Susan Goddard, MBA BSN RN
  • Heather Goodall, MSN RNC-NIC IBCLC
  • Faye Hunte, MSN RNC-NIC
  • Urmeka Jefferson, PhD RNC-LRN
  • Michelle Kelly, RN
  • Nancy Kraft, MSN APRN-BC NNP
  • Katherine Lucas, DNP APRN NNP-BC
  • Georgeanne Raines, MSN RN PNP-BC
  • Veronica Schaedler, RN IBCLC LCCE
  • Ruth Snyder, MSN APNC NNP-BC
  • Pamela S. Spivey, MSN RN CCNS
  • Tammy Wallace, DNP RN NNP-BC
  • Jennifer Weber, MSN RNC-NIC
  • Valerie Willis, MSN RN PNP-BC CNS-BC

1st Edition Expert Reviewers

  • Nancy Burke, MSN ARNP RNC-NIC
  • Deborah Campbell, MD FAAP
  • Karen Kopischke, MS APRN NNP-BC
  • Linda Merritt, MSN RNC
  • Tracy Stoffle, MS RN

Special thanks to the Preemie Parent Alliance for providing review and feedback on content from the parent perspective.