Life of a Prem Baby Blog

A few tips on caring for a Prem Baby I found on the web :)

Posted on: 12/01/2011


Essential Tips on Caring for a Premature Baby
The wait for your baby has come to an end, but only sooner than you had expected. Having a premature baby to care for can be anxiety-inducing for many mothers. Relax – nerves won’t do much help during this delicate time. Your preemie requires extra-gentle and soothing attention. This article is meant to help you understand your preemie’s special needs and how to provide them without becoming too worried you’ll hurt your baby.

What you must know about preterm babies

A preterm baby is one who comes into the world before the 37th week of pregnancy. They may weigh less than 2 pounds, and may have difficulty thriving.

The most crucial consideration for preterm babies is respiration. The last months of a baby’s stay inside the womb are crucial, as the lungs develops a substance known as “surfactant”, to help the baby breathe on his or her own outside the womb. If a baby is born prematurely, his or her lungs may not have an adequate amount of surfactant, and thus he or she may not survive. The immaturity of the lungs is what causes infant respiratory distress syndrome, the leading cause of preterm deaths.

As such, preterm babies are cared for in the NICU, or the neonatal intensive care unit until their bodies are mature enough to live outside the incubator. This means they will have to stay longer in the hospital than mommy.

Let bonding begin as soon as possible.

Just because baby has to stay in the incubator doesn’t mean you must wait weeks before you can actually bond with your little angel. Even though your baby seems frail and tiny, he or she recognizes you. After all, you spent months carrying him or her in your womb. Do not be afraid to touch your baby. Gently talk and sing to him or her on your visits to the NICU.

Explore the possibility of kangaroo care.

Kangaroo care is greatly encouraged for preemies. A mother holds her preemie very close to her body, skin to skin and does this for a few hours everyday. It is said that touch is the best therapy, and what better touch is there than a loving mother’s? Your baby will benefit from the warmth of your body, and the few hours spent outside the incubator and in your arms will help him or her develop physiologically faster and better.

Breastfeed if you can.

Breastfeeding is yet another bonding method between a mother and her baby. It provides baby much needed nourishment, the natural way. But for your preemie, it’s more than that. Your preemie may not be able to latch on and suck from your breasts, which means you will need to express milk manually or with a breast pump. The more you pump, the better milk production and supply you will have for when your baby is big enough to latch on.

Allow your preemie to sleep well.

Preterm babies have the tendency to stop breathing for 20 seconds or more while they are asleep. This condition is called sleep apnea, which is a sign of immature respiration. Ensure that your baby stays on their tummy, so that their immature lungs can learn to expand. Hospital staff members watch over your baby with breathing monitors and round-the-clock check-ins. When you do bring baby home, however, you will need to make sure he or she sleeps on his or her back.

Your preemie may be sleeping the entire night and day through, so you will need to wake him or her once every few hours for a feeding. This is because unlike term babies, they need to feed more often due to their lack of reserves.

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