Preterm babies care, Baby – a tiny bundle of joy wrapped in with happiness and hope. A child brings a new perspective to the parent’s life, it’s a journey unknown that every couple loves to take on. But what if your bundle of joy arrives a little early? The baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is termed as – preterm baby or premature baby.
A preterm baby has special needs and requirements as compared to full term baby, and these requirements totally depend on the time the baby has arrived. So as with the milestones related development scores for preterm babies. But the most crucial thing among all is how to take care of an early arrival?
For the baby who is born with a low body fat or preterm basic need is that of survival. With the right care and correct nutrition, this can be achieved. First few days of birth the preterm baby spends in the neo-natal care unit medical facility, but soon you may get the baby home. For taking care of the preterm baby at home along with the right nutrition read these essential points.
For the baby who is born with low body weight or is preterm, Kangaroo Care is used to regulate body temperature. Preterm baby may have low body fat, which is very important to generate body heat in newborn babies. “Kangaroo care” method is adapted to provide skin-to-skin contact with the baby.
In kangaroo care style of snuggling, the baby is placed, skin-to-skin, on the mother’s chest. It is a suitable method for both premature and full-term babies weighing less than 2 kilograms. When held like this, babies fall asleep very quickly then saving on energy and ease of breathing.
Will my Baby survive?
Babies who are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are called premature and the babies born with a body weight of less than 2.5 kg are low-birth-weight. Preterm babies are usually born with low birth weight.
Hence, the biggest worry for a parent of a premature baby is whether my baby will survive? Will my baby will be able to catch up like other infants? The healthcare and medical facilities have done miracles in child care with their constant research and efforts. Of course, the baby will be like any other infant or child. Few complications are bound to happen as the child is born early, however with proper medical support and care this can be achieved.
Nutrition Needs for Preterm Babies
Breastfeeding is vital for baby’s survival, the yellow milk produced by mother’s breasts in the first few days is natural immunization for a baby. The mother’s milk is the most nutritional dose of health for her child. Many researches hints on the baby’s own mothers milk adapt according to the needs of the baby. I call it miraculous, isn’t it?
Both premature and low birth weight babies benefit from breast milk. But breastfeeding may not be easy with few preterm babies, and the mother feeds the child by expressed milk using the breast pump. Breast milk fulfills most of the nutritional requirements of a preterm baby, with the right mix of body and brain developing minerals and vitamins.
With the regular supply of breastfeeding in the baby’s system their body and immunity develop and then comes the easy latching and direct from breastfeeding.
Stick to the Feeding Schedule
Organize the feeding time and stick to the schedule come what may. The preterm baby requirement is most crucial, and feeding them between 1 – 3 hours (depending on birth time) is a must.
- >36 weeks baby – breastfed every 2 – 3 hours.
- 32 – 36 weeks baby – breastfed or given expressed feed every 2 – 3 hours.
- <32 weeks baby – as per doctor’s recommendations only. Usually fed every 1 – 2 hours.
Hence, keeping with the schedule is helpful for mothers. Family support is most crucial here, as this is just not possible for a mother to handle on her own. Mother’s health and nutrition are as crucial as her child’s. Experts usually recommend health supplements like SimMom IQ+ during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The required presence of DHA and Natural Vitamin E makes SimMom the ideal choice of mothers as it helps in brain development and baby’s growth during pregnancy.
Take care of sleeping pattern
I remember Mom mentioning many times during the early days of daughter’s birth, the more she sleeps better her health will be. Same is with the preterm babies, they can sleep more than the full-term babies. However, you have to sooth them to wake up in between and feed. Babies must sleep on their back always without any head support.
Everyone like visitors and shares the happy news of new arrival at the family. But for preterm babies’ quiet surroundings mean better sleep. Hence, reduce or restrict visitors. With visitors, the chances of infection also increase, which you definitely do not want to take.
For parents, this is testing time as the care and health of the little one goes through many phases. But staying stress-free is advisable, especially for mothers. The mother’s milk production is also associated with your mental state. Take care of your own needs first and then only the baby can be looked after properly.
Ask your Doctor
Do not hesitate in asking questions about the baby’s health and growth to the Doctor. Clarity and right information are vital during preterm baby care. There is a plethora of information available online about do’s and don’ts of preterm care however always seek expert’s nod before implementing any. Things you must know as a new mother can be discussed with the doctor without any fear. Also, never hide any detail or information from your doctor.
Infant Health Care Programs
There are various healthcare facilities and medical associations working together to bring infant mortality rate low. Indian is one of the largest contributors to the world’s young population is engaged in such programs. Abbott in collaboration with Laerdal supports training of Nurses on Essential care for every baby and Essential care for the small baby. This training program designed by Laerdal consists of small baby care, exclusive breastfeeding, manual expression of breast milk and nasogastric tube feeding, Kangaroo Mother Care, Family-centric care etc.
These programs are intended to impart essential care training to relevant para-med staff which in turn helps in saving lives of infants (mostly pre-term babies).
Yes, your preterm baby needs a little extra care and attention but there is no need for you to endlessly worry. The best thing to do is to seek your doctor’s advice, breathe and just enjoy their growing up phase. Before you know it, they will be little adults and you will miss the days when they could fit into your arms.
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