Taking care of a fragile infant is tough. According to the CDC, 1 out of 10 babies was born too early in the United States. As they are born prematurely, they have missed the important development of their organs during the last few weeks. Because of that, they will receive special medical care in a neonatal intensive care unit or NICU to ensure their growth.
Well, the protection does not end there. Parents of preemies will have to give extra care to their babies when they reach home. Nurturing a premature baby is different from nurturing a newborn. Worry not, we are here to help you. Here are the things you need to know when you bring a preemie home.
Know Your Baby Well
Yes, it’s hometime! After weeks of wait, it’s time to bring your newborn home. But, wait. Do not take things for granted. You need to continue the special care even after he or she leaves the NICU.
You need to be well aware of your baby’s medical conditions to give him/her the required protection and love. Talk to your baby’s doctor. Understand everything related to your baby’s health. Know about the risk of infections, breastfeeding issues, and breathing problems. You should know when to call the doctor. All the information about your baby will boost your confidence in taking care of your preemie.
Get A Nurse
Still not confident enough to hold your baby? There is no harm in getting help from a nurse at home.
As you recover from the delivery, you may not have the energy to give the best to your baby. Or you may be stressed out or you may be skeptical about everything. Hire a baby nurse so that you will have someone to handle an emergency. The nurse will also assist you in baby care.
Choose The Right Car Seat
It is important to have a safe ride home. Make sure that your little one is in a position to tolerate the ride.
Choose a car seat that is appropriate for your baby. Always check with the hospital whether the car seat is safe enough for the baby. You may have to add extra padding to a car seat. You can also go for a car bed. Instead of sitting up, he or she will enjoy the comfort of lying down.
Provide Kangaroo Care
Hold your preemie close whenever you can. Your baby is now detached from the IV lines, feeding tubes, and ventilators. And he/she is at the comfort of home.
Place him/her directly on your chest and provide baby skin-to-skin care. This helps your baby gain weight fast and also makes him/her comfortable. With Kangaroo care, you can maintain his/her body warmth.
Talk To Other Parents
Never be hesitant to seek advice from moms of other preemies. They are the best people who can provide you support. They can relate to your situation better than anyone else.
It is true that every infant is different. But, you will know how others sailed through it. You may even get better tips, which nurses could not give you. Connecting with other parents will help you manage everything efficiently with great confidence.
Keep your home as quiet as possible. An important step is to restrict visitors. Who can resist the joy of holding a newborn? But, it may not be that good for your baby. So, it is best to limit guests for a few weeks.
Chances are high that preemies are very sensitive. Try to maintain a peaceful ambiance at home. Refrain from using bright light or loud music till your baby starts enjoying it.
Even though it is tough, it is not impossible. The key is to learn your baby’s cues. Sometimes they may get ill all of a sudden. You should know your baby well to identify his/her discomforts. If you notice or feel something is wrong, talk to your doctor without delay. Most importantly, never miss an appointment with the pediatrician. Because developmental follow-up is crucial for every premature baby.