Caring for a baby that arrives prematurely

Posted by Sara Baker on

A baby arrives prematurely if birth occurs before completion of thirty-seven weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies are also referred to as `preemies’. Statistics indicate that premature births in the world occur in about ten percent of pregnancy cases. Almost sixty percent of twins or triplets cases are preterm births. Premature babies are at a high risk of suffering with complications and they have to depend on constant hospitalisation on account of infections, breathing problems and fluctuating levels of blood glucose.

Mothers of preemies are tense about caring for them. Here are some tips for such mothers on how they can begin to care about their premature babies –

They will have to spend more time with their babies and be alert about what the babies are going through – Mostly, in cases of preterm births; babies are immediately shifted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Even when the babies are kept under intensive care, mothers have to spend more time with them and they will be allowed by the nursing staff to be near their babies. It may be tough on the mothers, right after the delivery but it is better to be conscious of the fact that their babies need them.

Make sure that the babies get their constant touch – Premature babies are generally kept in incubators and re not removed until they stabilize. Mothers can seek the permission of attending doctors when babies are kept in incubators and they can slip their hand within these incubators to touch the babies. Positive touch offers various advantages. Touching and talking to babies transmits positive energy and thoughts to them.

Breastfeeding is important – If premature babies are unable to suckle at the breasts due to their weakness, mothers can extract breast milk and request the nurses to feed the babies through a spoon, a bottle or a tube. Breast milk has the necessary nutrients for the babies and it helps build up immunity in their bodies.

They have to get involved in daily care – Mothers have to help the nurses in the acts of feeding the babies, sponging them and changing their diapers. Their care, their touch and their talking to their babies will help in the mental development of their children.
Mothers should take CPR training – They have to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques before taking their preemies home. The nursing staff at the hospital can help these mothers in caring for their babies when they are alone at home after going back from the hospital. Mothers have to be fully aware of the feeding habits, medication time and how to monitor the health of their babies.

Premature babies need extra care in order to survive and stabilise as their bodies and minds are under-developed. Medical science today has made it possible for mothers to take care of their preemies through their first few months after birth. It is long term loving and caring that finally makes it possible for these preemies to develop into normal children. Mothers should know that their preemies are ready to go home when they are able to breathe normally on their own and they are in a position to maintain their body temperature. They should be able to suckle or be fed by a bottle and they have to gain their weight steadily.

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