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A preterm baby is defined as a baby who is born alive before thirty-seven weeks of pregnancy are completed. Here are some tips about Caring for Your Premature Baby...
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Caring for Your Premature Baby: 11 Things to
Identification of premature baby
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), a preterm baby is
defined as a baby who is born alive before thirty-seven weeks of
pregnancy are completed. Preterm babies can be classified as
Extremely preterm: Less than twenty-eight weeks
Very preterm: twenty-eight to under thirty-two weeks
Late and moderate preterm: thirty-two to under thirty-seven weeks
Preterm baby can be identified by calculating gestational age. It can
be calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period, for
example, if the last menstrual period was on third April 2017 and the
delivery happens in nineteenth November 2017, calculate the number
of days of pregnancy, in this case, it is 231 days or 33 weeks which
falls under the category of “late and moderate preterm”.
PrematureBaby: Causesand Caring
Some of the causes of premature birth are given below:
When more than one fetus lies in the womb it is known as multiple
pregnancies. In case of twin or triple pregnancy, there rises a chance
of overstretching of the womb and this with time increases the risk of
Generally, it has been recognized that mothers under twenty and
above thirty-five years old are slightly prone to the risk of preterm
Females who have undergone miscarriage before, generally develop
stress regarding their medical history. Whereas many females develop
stress due to their workload and personal problems. Hence, it is
advisable to avoid stress in order to avoid preterm labor.
In some women, the cervix is very weak, the opening to the womb will
shorten and will open too soon which is followed by spontaneous
labor. In this case, the doctor will have to initiate premature delivery.
Babies born before completing 37 weeks in the womb are premature
babies. Their organs are not fully developed and they don’t have a
strong immune system to fight infections and hence, need more care
and attention than babies born full term. A premature baby is under
complete care of the doctor and experts when in the hospital but the
biggest challenge arises when the baby comes home from the
hospital. Here are some tips on how to take care of your premature
Listen only to your pediatrician
Parents should strictly follow what their doctor tells them and avoid
doing anything that any good-willing relative might suggest. It is
important to remember that the doctor knows best.
Ensure the baby gets enough nutrition
Breast milk is the best nutrition any baby can get, and it holds true
even in the case of preemies. If your baby does not latch to your
breasts, express the milk and try to give it to the baby with the help of
other tools. Also, express the milk and store it for the baby if you have
to work and can’t be present with the baby for a long time. Do not give
your baby anything else like cow’s or buffalo’s milk and don’t even
think about feeding formula milk.
Preventing infections is one of the most important aspects of a
premature baby’s care. Immunity is built in the last three months of
pregnancy and since the babies don’t complete their term, their
immunity is severely complicated. It is a must that you avoid visitors
after the baby comes home.
Keep the baby warm
Babies feel safe and secure when they are in close contact with the
mother. Mothers should use the kangaroo care approach that involves
placing the baby in between the breasts. This way the child can hear
the mother’s heartbeat, and it also keeps the baby warm and makes
him feel secure which helps their growth. Kangaroo care is not just
limited to the mother, it can be given by a male member of the family
Don’t get depressed
If you are starting to get depressed, then get some help for that,
because the depressed feeling in the parents translates to their child.
And children suffer from a lot of adverse outcomes when they are
parented by parents who are depressed or who are really anxious. So
take a care of your emotional-self first.
It is really important to realize that there are chances that you will have
a child, even if they are born prematurely, who will be a little behind to
developmentally until they are two years of age. After that they are
going to catch up and will do really well. What you don’t want to do is
start seeing your child as they are so vulnerable and fragile.
Overprotecting your child can have some long-term negative
Talk to your doctor
As a parent you must talk to your pediatrician provider about whatever
your concerns are, because your pediatric nurse practitioner is there
to listen to your concerns, to respond to them and to help you parent
your child in a way that will lead to the best outcomes.
Give extra loving care
Preterm infants just seem to need more, more time to develop, more
protection and more tender loving care. Spend as much time as you
can holding and cuddling your baby, as skin-to-skin contact has been
shown to improve premature babies’ wellbeing.
Limit your outings
If possible, limit visits and outings that could expose your baby to
germs. Premature immune systems need extra time to “catch up” to
their full-term peers.
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and be specific. Do you need a family
member to help do laundry or an experienced parent to provide
advice? Asking for support can be hard, but it can help you provide
the best care for your premature baby.
Take care of you
While caring for a premature newborn will likely have you “on call”
24×7, but self-care is important too. Caregivers need to sustain their
own energy and wellbeing. Eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated,
getting enough sleep and even just a little exercise can help.
Things to remember
Preemies are more prone to certain medical conditions than full-
termers, so doctor visits are essential. The experts will monitor factors
(a biggie: your premature baby’s weight) to check that your premature
baby’s development is on track. Also, don’t worry, it’s natural to have a
Hope this article was of help for all our parents!! Please share your
comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of
Happy and Healthy Babies!!