Having a premature baby can be difficult. Many parents are worried and understandably have many questions about how to care for their newborn. It is important, however, for parents of premature babies to make sure their newborn is getting proper care at the hospital.
The following tips aim to help parents understand and take care of their premature baby.
It’s important for parents to understand:
- They are not alone: Approximately 15 percent of babies are born prematurely and there are many resources for parents of premature babies available to help answer questions and concerns.
- Advancements in medical care will help their baby: Advances in medical care have helped more than 90 percent of premature babies weighing more than 800 grams survive. It is important to know that there is a great chance of compilations the smaller the baby and gestational age.
- Their baby may look different: Premature babies’ heads may appear too large for their body. The skin may also look translucent and may be covered in fine hair called lanugo.
- Their baby’s chance of survival is lower: Parents’ baby’s prognosis depends on many factors. Gestational age is the most important. Babies born at 34 weeks have a good chance of survival and have minimal risk for developmental delays. Babies born at 25 or 26 weeks are smaller, less developed and most likely will need more medical care. Infections and other medical problems are more prevalent in premature babies and can play a role in how much medical care your premature baby will require.
- Touch is very important: It is important for premature babies to be given a lot of attention. Parents are encouraged to feed or hold their babies as much as possible. Touch, especially, is comforting to babies and can even help their physical growth.
- Their baby will spend time in the hospital: Premature babies are admitted to the neo-natal intensive care unit where their health can be closely monitored. It is important to understand the treatments babies receive and ask questions about their baby’s medical care. Most premature babies stay in the hospital until their intended due date and when they are able to feed from a breast or bottle, maintain their body temperature and breathe without any assistance.
- Their baby will need special care: Premature babies have difficulty maintaining body heat so incubators are used to keep them warm. Babies may need a feeding tube until he or she is able to breast or bottle feed.
- Complications are possible: Premature babies are at risk for certain medical problems, including jaundice, anemia, low blood pressure, respiratory problems and apnea.
- Their expectations will change: It’s important for parents to try not to compare their baby to others. It may take a few years for a child to meet typical growth and height measurements for their age. Some babies do suffer long-term health and developmental issues which include learning problems, vision or hearing impairment, and dental problems. The earlier the problems are identified, the better the prognosis.
- The need to take care of themselves: All Parents go through a lot when dealing with a premature baby. Parents should remember to take care of themselves and get as much sleep as they can, eat well and accept help from others.
Source: Prettymomguide.com, Early Arrivals: 10 Things You Need To Know About Your Premature Baby, May 28, 2012