The journey of caring for a premature baby at home is a unique and sometimes challenging experience. These tiny warriors require extra attention, and as parents, you want to ensure their well-being in every way possible. Here, we'll offer valuable tips to help provide you with peace of mind during this crucial time.
Before bringing your premature baby home, it's crucial to maintain a strong line of communication with your healthcare team. Neonatologists, paediatricians, and nurses can provide guidance specific to your baby's needs, helping you navigate any potential health issues and understand their unique developmental milestones.
Ensuring a safe environment is paramount when caring for a premature baby. Premature infants often have underdeveloped immune systems, making them more susceptible to infections. Here are some key steps to create a safe space:
Feeding is a critical aspect of caring for a premature baby. These little ones often face challenges with feeding, so patience and adaptability are essential:
Premature babies often have specific growth and developmental needs. Keep a close eye on your baby's progress, and don't hesitate to discuss any concerns with your healthcare team. They can provide guidance on milestones and offer early interventions if necessary. Their developmental milestones will be different not just in infancy, but right up into childhood.
Skin-to-skin contact — also known as kangaroo care — is highly beneficial for all babies, but especially so for premature babies. Holding your baby against your bare chest can regulate their body temperature, promote bonding, and provide comfort. Kangaroo care has been shown to improve weight gain and reduce stress levels for both baby and parent. This works well for both mom and dad to do, promoting bonding and helping with regulation, no matter which parent is providing the contact. In fact, it’s a wonderful thing for dads to do with premature babies, especially when those babies are breast-fed.
Establishing a regular feeding and sleeping schedule can help your premature baby thrive. Premature infants often need to eat more frequently than full-term babies — their tummies are smaller, so they eat less at each feed, and need to eat more frequently. They also tend to be sleepier, so although you might not want to wake them to feed, it may be important to do so. Consult with your healthcare team to determine the best feeding schedule for your baby's specific needs, and remember that the schedule will change as the baby grows and matures.
Premature babies are known to have trouble breathing continuously, sometimes stopping for longer than is good for them — one of the main sources of SIDS deaths in premature babies. For added peace of mind, consider using a baby breathing monitor like the Snuza HeroMD, a medically certified wearable monitor. This device can alert you if there is a cessation of breathing, allowing for a prompt response.
Alicia: “My daughter was born prematurely and would at times stop breathing. I got this when she was discharged from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She is now 10 weeks old and it works perfectly. Highly recommend it.”
Shaun: “Our baby was born premature, and the Snuza has gone off twice to remind him to breathe. In my opinion, it is a must.”
Erika: “The Snuza has saved our baby the first night that we got the device. It sets your mind at ease, especially for first-time parents.”
Caring for a premature baby at home requires dedication, patience, and a strong support system. By following these practical tips and consulting with healthcare professionals, you can provide the best care for your precious baby. Remember that every baby is unique, so stay adaptable and be prepared to make adjustments as your baby continues to grow and develop. Your unwavering love and care are the greatest assets for your premature baby's journey to a healthy and thriving life.