Preterm Baby Care
Hi everyone, today I am going to talk about Preterm baby care and what parents can do to help their premature babies achieve optimal growth in the initial months.
During my last trimester pregnancy, I was really worried as I had heard many cases of preterm deaths and complicated preterm deliveries. One of our neighbors had a premature baby who came back home after spending 15 days in the NICU. When they came home with the baby, I saw how tiny that baby was, so fragile like a small flower and had tubes going inside her nose. That was a really heartbreaking sight. I didn’t see the baby for the next 3 months as she was kept inside the house to avoid any infections.
Most pregnancies normally last about 40 weeks and if a birth occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy it is termed as preterm birth.
These babies are considered premature and have an increased risk of complications. These preterm babies need special care as some of their organs are underdeveloped and there are high chances of getting an infection.
I am listing down the 3 essential tips which can help parents in preterm baby care-
1 – Understand & Manage the Nutritional Needs of your Preterm Baby
This is the most important part of preterm baby care as proper nutrition is very important for their growth. Since the preterm babies are born before time, there is a possibility that their organs are not yet fully developed. Their digestive system may not work similar to a full term baby. If the baby has underdeveloped lungs, they may be given fluids through an IV (intravenous).
Breast milk is considered best for both preterms as well as full-term babies as it provides the essential nutrients along with DHA and natural vitamin E. If you are able to produce milk, and your baby is able to suckle then doctors will recommend exclusive breastfeeding every 2 hours. In case the baby is not able to latch, you will be advised to express milk for the baby.
You may also read – 6 Successful Breastfeeding tips for new moms!
In case you are not able to produce milk, consult a lactation specialist immediately. Do not delay! Your healthcare provider may ask your permission to give formula feed to the baby until your supply is established.
Please remember, even just a few drops of breast milk at a time will do them good.
In my previous posts on #FeedIQ, I have shared how the nutrition intake of a mother during pregnancy and breastfeeding impacts the growth of the baby. To avoid any nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy, mothers can also take a supplement (after consulting their doctor) like SimMom IQ+ by Abbott. This is a specialized nutrition which offers an IQ+ blend of brain nutrients and high-quality protein that helps in the fetal brain development & healthy birthing.
2- Offer Kangaroo Mother Care
Many doctors recommend Kangaroo care since premature babies are not yet ready to live outside their mother’s womb. Kangaroo care is a technique where newborn babies are given direct skin-to-skin contact. Babies are placed on the chest of their mothers immediately after the birth. This is done for many hours a day at least 4 times a week.
Studies have shown many benefits of this method for both baby and the mother. It is the best way to bond with your newborn and provide him the warmth and safety. Kangaroo care also helps in breastfeeding and fast weight gain in babies.
You may read more about Kangaroo Care, here!
3- Stay Positive & Stress-free
The whole birthing process and the realities of preterm birth may result in stress and anxiety in new moms. You are already coping with so much from raging hormones to the challenges of preterm baby care. But this is the time to stay strong and positive. A mother’s mental and emotional well being is essential for the well being of her baby. Your baby can sense your stress which is not good for both you and the baby.
Just follow the instructions by your doctor for baby’s proper care and kick that stress out. Enjoy your motherhood and the time with your newborn. You won’t even realize how fast these little babies grow. Just cherish every moment spent with them!
According to WHO, every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm. And preterm birth complication is the most common cause of death among children under 5 years of age (approx. 1 million deaths). More than three-quarter of preterm babies can be saved with feasible, cost-effective care.
Laerdal Global Health is a not-for-profit company dedicated to helping save lives of mothers and newborns. Their goal is to save 5,00,000 more lives every year by 2020. Abbott has collaborated with Laerdal to support their initiative of providing training workshops to nurses on ‘Essential care for every baby and Essential care for small baby’.