Premature babies are babies that are born before 37 weeks of gestation. Premature birth is the leading cause of death in children under five years old. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every ten newborns in the United States was affected by preterm birth in 2020. Hence, it’s important that parents know how to take care of a premature baby.
Premature babies often require special care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and there are some things you can do to help them grow and develop. Premature babies need lots of love and support, and with proper care, they can thrive!
Here are some tips on how to take care of a premature baby:
Understand Your Baby’s Needs
Premature babies have different needs than full-term babies. For example, they may need to be fed through a feeding tube, and they may need special care in the NICU. It’s important to understand your baby’s specific needs so that you can provide the best possible care.
You can start by asking questions of the healthcare professionals caring for them. They will be able to provide you with information on what you need to do to care for your premature baby.
In addition, you can also read literature on premature babies to learn more about their needs. This can help you advocate for your baby and ensure they receive the best care possible. However, you need to remember that every baby is different, so not everything you read will apply to your specific situation.
Visit a Pediatric Clinic Regularly
In order to ensure that your premature baby is growing and developing properly, you should take them to a pediatric clinic regularly. Here, they will be able to monitor your baby’s growth and development and advise you on how to best care for them.
While looking for a kids’ clinic, be sure to ask about their experience with caring for premature babies. This way, you can be sure that they will be able to provide the best possible care for your baby. A well-established kids’ clinic will offer comprehensive and compassionate healthcare to your kid. Moreover, it will help monitor the development until the teenage years, which is crucial for premature babies.
Stimulate Your Baby’s Development
Premature babies often need extra help to reach their developmental milestones. The reason is that they often have to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This can delay their development and cause them to fall behind their peers.
However, with proper care and stimulation, premature babies can show growth and development like other babies. There are many things you can do to help stimulate your baby’s development, such as reading to them, singing to them, and playing with them.
In addition, you can also talk to your baby frequently. This will help them learn how to communicate and develop language skills. You can also provide them with visual stimulation by showing them pictures or hanging mobiles in their crib. You can also help them develop their motor skills by giving them opportunities to reach for and grasp toys.
Premature babies often catch up with their peers by the time they reach school-age, so don’t worry if they are a little behind at first. With proper care and stimulation, they will be able to catch up eventually.
Provide Skin-to-Skin Contact
One of the best things you can do for a premature baby is to provide skin-to-skin contact. This involves holding your naked baby against your bare chest.
Skin-to-skin contact has many benefits for premature babies. For example, it can help them regulate their body temperature, breathing, and heart rate. In addition, it can also help them bond with you and feel more secure.
Not just for kids, skin-to-skin contact is also beneficial for you as a parent. It can help you bond with your baby and reduce stress levels. It may also help you feel more confident in your parenting abilities.
There are some times when a parent can’t hold his or her baby for skin-to-skin contact. This might be because the baby is in the hospital or the parent is too busy. If you cannot hold your baby for skin-to-skin contact, you can ask another family member or friend to do it for you. You can also ask the staff in the NICU to provide skin-to-skin contact for your baby.
Premature babies are born before their due date. Hence, their internal organs are not fully developed yet. They are also prone to infections. However, the good thing is that the survival rate of premature babies has increased over the years with advances in medical care. But that does not mean the task is done. They still need special care, and parents need to be aware of how to take care of a premature baby. With the tips mentioned in this guide, you will be well on your way to providing the best care for your premature baby.