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Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia


Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a long-term condition that affects your baby's lungs. BPD is also called chronic lung disease. This condition usually occurs in a premature baby whose lungs are inflamed and damaged. This prevents the baby's lungs from working properly and leads to serious breathing problems.


Follow up with your baby's healthcare provider as directed:

Your baby may need to return for tests to check how his lungs are working. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Breathing support:

  • Run a cool mist humidifier. This will help increase air moisture in your baby's room. Follow the humidifier instructions carefully.
  • Give oxygen as directed. Your baby may need extra oxygen to help him breathe easier. It can be given through a mask over his mouth and nose. It may also be given through small tubes placed in his nose. Ask your baby's healthcare provider about how and when to give extra oxygen at home.
  • Use a pulse oximeter as directed. A pulse oximeter is a machine that tells how much oxygen is in your baby's blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on his earlobe, finger, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a small machine. You may need to use this machine to see if he needs more oxygen. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about a pulse oximeter.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR):

Call 911 immediately, or send someone to call for help. Call 911 before you start CPR. Stay on the telephone with the 911 operator until he tells you to hang up. Begin CPR if your baby is not breathing or is gasping. Continue CPR until he responds or healthcare providers arrive. Remember that CPR on a baby is different from an adult. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on CPR for babies.


A dietitian may talk to you about your baby's feeding and nutrition. A dietitian can help you increase the amount of calories your baby gets. During feeding, hold your baby so his head is higher than his stomach. Your baby may become tired easily when feeding. If needed, stop the feeding to allow him to take breaths between sucks on the bottle or breast. Always check for signs of fatigue and any skin color changes.

Prevent illness:

  • Do not let anyone smoke around your baby. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Your baby is more likely to get lung infections if he breathes in cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke can also cause breathing problems. Do not let anyone smoke inside your home. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.
  • Keep your baby away from people who have colds and the flu. This decreases your baby's chance of getting sick or getting an infection.
  • Wash your hands often. This will help prevent the spread of germs. Encourage everyone in your house to wash their hands with soap and water after they use the bathroom. Wash your hands after you change diapers and before you prepare food or eat.

Contact your baby's healthcare provider if:

  • Your baby has a fever.
  • Your baby has chills or a cough.
  • Your baby's skin is swollen or has a rash.
  • You have any questions or concerns about your baby's condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your baby has trouble breathing.
  • Your baby is more sleepy, irritable, or fussy than usual.
  • Your baby is not able to eat or drink anything for 24 hours.
  • Your baby's skin, lips, or fingernails are pale or blue.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (Discharge Care)

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