A NICU stay, no matter how long, is hard. But the longer it is, the harder it gets.
When I was first there, a couple of parents were SOOOO ready to take their (first) child home. I would smile knowingly and behind their backs chuckle at them. "If only they knew. It's just as hard at home, but you have no help." Which is true. And not true. It's difficult when you finally get a baby home - finding your new normal again, figuring life out. But there was a point (maybe 6 weeks in?) where I went from "He's better off here" to GET US THE HECK OUT OF HERE almost overnight. Then I understood where those parents were coming from. And, I humbly admitted to myself that I was wrong. (Happens to the best of us.)
If there is a chance baby might come early, have a name picked out early. There was so much pressure to name our little one!
Holding your preemie guy for the first time is SO good.
There is not enough to be said for how much skin-to-skin time benefits everyone involved!
No doctor is perfect. You are the one who knows your child best, if you are there, you make the decisions with them.
Doctors don't always agree with each other! There is much, much less agreement in the medical community than I thought. You can always ask for another opinion.
If at first your pediatrician doesn't satisfy, try another one.
If you want to exclusively breastfeed your preemie, it is possible. (Maybe not for everyone, no judgement! But it was my number one desire and it happened!) The lactation consultants were some of my favorite people. Not only did they support my desire to breastfeed but they also supported me in other decisions. They were my biggest help! And because there were less of them in rotation, I saw them more often and got to know them more readily. They were amazing, they answered a million and a half questions, and were my biggest support.
Did I say already that I love lactation consultants?!