4 Crucial Steps to Caring for Premature Babies

4 Crucial Steps to Caring for Premature Babies

Premature babies, or preemies, are not fully developed and for that reason they have special needs that need to be attended to by their parents, and often by health care professionals.

What to Expect with Your Premature Baby

If your baby is kept in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), your physician and other healthcare professionals will be there to help you and your baby. Since preemies sometimes don’t have fully developed lungs, they may need to have some type of oxygen delivery system. Feeding is also important, and breast milk is best.  Ask for help and support with feeding before you and your preemie leave the hospital.

Look for Warning Signs

You are the one who knows what is normal or not normal for your baby. Be observant. Monitor your baby’s breathing, skin color, temperature and behavior. If they are eating properly they will have diapers that are wet and soiled. If they are having trouble with their livers, they will have jaundice. In that case, their skin and the whites of their eyes will be yellowish. If their skin is blue, especially in the toes, lips or fingers, they are not getting enough oxygen. If they are not moving or crying enough, they may be ill.

Be sure your preemie is warm enough. A hat will often increase a preemies body temperature and help him or her stay warm. High-risk obstetrician Dr. Gilbert Webb asserts that proper observation and fast action when there are concerns can greatly increase a preemie’s odds of thriving.

Nurture Your Baby

While having a preemie is a cause for concern in some ways, it is also a cause for rejoicing. There is no substitute for physical touch when nurturing a baby, even a tiny one. Skin to skin contact is well known to cause babies to thrive. Lay the tiny newborn on your bare chest. Nestle him or her close and enjoy the cuddle. Reading and talking to a baby is important for mental development as well.

Take Care of Yourself

You can’t take care of anyone if you don’t take care of yourself. Be sure you are getting your rest by sharing responsibilities for the baby at times. Eat well and get some exercise. Take breaks from baby care. And don’t be afraid to ask your physicians and nurses the best ways to take care of your preemie.

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