Right from the time you saw a positive , your entire life has come to revolve around the tiny human who’s about to change your life. Now, everything you do is to make room for the baby when it finally arrives. Sometimes, despite doing everything right, the baby may arrive sooner than your due date. If your baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy, then it’s considered to be a premature baby or a preemie. Caring for a premature baby can be difficult and complicated because not only is the baby not fully equipped for the outside world, the parents may not be ready either. However, prior knowledge can you help you stay prepared.
Here’s all you need to know about caring for your baby born premature.
Whether your baby will be admitted in the NICU depends on how early it’s born and how much medical attention it needs. The baby may still have some organs and systems that are not fully developed, and will need to spend some time under the doctor’s observation to make sure it’s coping and developing well.
Most preemies are born with lungs that aren’t fully developed and ready to breathe air. Until their lungs are developed, they will be attached to a breathing support system that’ll help them receive extra oxygen. This may be required for a few weeks and even months. Watching this can be stressful for any parent, but know that your baby will recover in due time.
Since your baby still has a lot of development to do, it’s likely to grow much slower than regular babies. The baby may need to undergo regular physiotherapy so that it doesn’t face any issues while growing. Premature babies are also more susceptible to catching a cold, flu or an ear infection. So, the doctor will need to constantly monitor your baby’s health and vital stats. Regular hospital visits and check-ups are a regular feature of the life of a preemie’s parents.
Fresh breast milk can prove to be life-saving for your premature baby, and can actually speed up its recovery and boost its health. However, your baby may not be able to latch on to you to feed yet as they probably still haven’t mastered the sucking, swallowing and latching skills. In order to be able to control the volume of milk you can feed your baby, you may have to express some breast milk and feed it via a syringe, or discuss other safe feeding strategies with the doctor and nurses.
Even if you’ve planned the to the dot, you will be thrown off by an early birth. For most part, you’re likely to be in shock, followed by stress and anxiety regarding your baby’s health. One of the best ways to make this time easier is to accept all the help you can get from your friends and family – whether it’s for making preparations for the baby’s stay, running household errands or even staying at the hospital. Similarly, don’t hesitate to ask the doctor and nurses questions about your baby. It’s completely okay to seek assistance with taking care of your fragile little baby until you’ve mastered it fully.
It is important that you and your partner remain patient and support each other throughout this journey. With your love, care and warmth, your premature baby will grow up just fine. Keep consulting with your paediatrician, follow their orders and try to maintain an environment of positivity. If you have any more doubts, ask us in the comments below!