Premature babies who are also referred to as preemies exist and it is believed that at least one person in every 30 is born a preemie. If you have a premature baby or know someone who just had a baby that was born prematurely, it would be interesting in knowing the following four things about these babies:
1. If you just had a premature baby, you should know that your baby has a great will to survive! These babies are really good at fighting back despite their circumstances. If you look through the window of a neonatal ward in a hospital, you will most likely see these tiny creatures clinging onto life and cling they do! Reach out and offer a finger to a baby that is born prematurely and he or she will grab your finger right back as if to say, “Yes, I am here and plan on going nowhere!”.
It is an encouraging sight for any parent who has just had a baby prematurely. If you are in this situation, know that your baby is fighting as best as he or she can, to be there for you.
2. Your baby needs your touch and comfort. Even though your baby was born prematurely, when the time is right, the doctors and nurses will most likely encourage you to cuddle or touch your baby. Even within the incubator, a gentle touch or rub of your baby’s hands, face and legs can be comforting. Of course, you would not want to make the current situation worse. Hence, you should ensure that your hands and other parts of your body that will be coming in contact with your baby are clean.
Within an intensive care unit, you may be required to put on special gear, clothes or coverings every time you go to spend some time with your baby. This protects your baby from infections and other harmful substances.
3. You can breastfeed your baby even if he or she was born prematurely. Of course, this will depend largely on your baby’s condition and degree of development. If your baby was not far from being born at full term, then there are increased chances that you will be able to completely breastfeed your baby. However, if the premature birth occurred at a time that was so far away from the expected due date of your baby, then you may have to wait for some time before breastfeeding can commence normally.
In the meantime, you may be able to express breast milk through the use of a breast pump. You may use a baby bottle to give your baby the expressed milk. This helps to provide your baby with breast milk which contains components that are highly recommended for newborns. The process of expressing milk also helps to keep your supply of breast milk available for your baby when he or she becomes ready to latch onto your breast.
Breastfeeding a premature baby is not as simple as breastfeeding a full-term newborn. It could be a testing time full of patience for both the mother as well as the early visitor. For details on how to breastfeed your little cuppycake, refer to our article: How to Breastfeed a Premature Baby.
Another option is to go for infant formula milk that are specially made for preterm babies - keeping in mind their growth and development. Refer to our article: Choosing the Right Infant Formula for Your Preemie, for all the help you need on this subject.
4. The early arrival of these tiny babies indicate that they may have a long road ahead of them. Read all about Preemie Development here. One way of considering this is to think about the number of people that may have a long road ahead of them whether or not they were born prematurely. However, if your baby is born prematurely, there is a much higher chance of difficulties along the way including mental retardation and other problems affecting his or her organs. Having said that, a preterm baby may turn out to be the brightest kid of the block. There are no hard and fast rules.
If you have a premature baby, you can seek more information regarding how you can provide adequate care. There are different resources that you can use to cope including getting advice from your doctor and following guidelines that have been discussed with your doctor.