A baby brings a lot of happiness in her parents’ life and being a parent is the best feeling in the world. It is something that changes you forever as being a parent means a responsibility too. Along with happiness and excitement, a new parent feels anxiety and fear of handling everything properly. This responsibility increases manifolds with a preterm baby as they need special care.
My elder one was born little premature and it is overwhelming when you have a premature baby at home. I know how it feels like a new mom to take care of this tiny baby. She was born at 36 weeks and was completely healthy except for low birth weight.
With a premature baby at home, one must be careful of many things. I am sharing a few do’s and don’ts from my own experiences as a mom of a premature child.
List of Don’ts –
- Do not get obsessed with the weight of the baby. Just focus on the right nutrition and slowly you will observe he/she starts gaining weight. The feeding times are overwhelming as I remember my daughter used to sleep most of the time and it was hard to wake her up for feeds.
- Do not be in a hurry to get the baby home from the hospital. The hospital stay depends on how early the baby was born. Doctors know the best and neonatal care has trained nurses to take care of the baby. Recently I came to know about the Laerdal workshop initiative which in collaboration with Abbott trains staff about the essential care of premature babies. It includes special training for nurses related to kangaroo care, nasogastric tube feeding, exclusive breastfeeding etc. to help save premature babies.
- Do not compare a preterm baby’s needs to a full term baby. A preterm baby needs special care and affection. By comparing, you will stress yourself out as a parent and this can affect your relationship with the child. A preterm baby care at home should be in a happy and positive enviornment.
- Don’t get discouraged if the baby is not feeding properly. Latching on and sucking takes a lot of energy and a premature baby is fragile in the beginning. You can pump breast milk and try feeding using a spoon. Be consistent with the feeding schedule of the baby.
List of Do’s –
- Do ask for help. As a new parent, you need all the help required. Do not hesitate to ask your family and friends for help with the baby. Avoid listening to too much unsolicited advice related to a new born as everyone has a different experience when it comes to pregnancy and delivery.
- Do take your baby to hospitals for regular health check-ups after you bring them home. It can help your doctor to understand the growth of the child. Also, make sure to understand about feeding the baby before leaving the hospital.
- Do take care of your nutrition. A mom must take care of herself too as she needs to be healthy herself for taking care of a preterm baby. Good nutrition along with some breaks in between is good for a new mom’s overall health. Along with wholesome nutrition with fresh fruits and vegetables, you can include supplements like Simmom IQ+ for getting a blend of brain nutrients and high quality proteins. It is enriched with DHA, Choline, Iron, Zinc and Iodine. Good nutrition is important for good quality breastmilk which is essential for a pre term baby. Moms nutrition is equally proportional to baby’s development and to Feed IQ to the baby, supplements are really helpful.
- Do include activities to boost cognitive development in a premature baby. Although, the breastmilk contains nutrients like DHA and natural Vitamin E for baby brain development, stimulation in the form of skin to skin touch while holding baby helps too. Kangaroo care is a very popular technique which helps in infant cognition. This technique is helpful for both baby and parents. In this method, the baby is kept close to the parent to allow the skin to skin touch which helps in bonding, increasing breast milk supply, aiding weight gain and other benefits which help a preterm baby to grow fast and healthy. Also, let them sleep peacefully as sleeping also helps in growing.
A preterm baby care depends a lot on how early the baby was born. Mostly, if a baby is born before 36 weeks, they might need special care in the hospital for a few days. Main struggle starts when you bring them home. Make sure you protect them from any illnesses and germs. Eventually, it will all be fine. So, the main trick is to enjoy this phase of motherhood not stressing out.