All babies need a lot of attention and care in the early years. These are the years that provide the building blocks for the overall development. But when it comes to pre-term babies, they need some extra special attention and care.
What is a preterm baby?
A preterm baby is one where the birth takes place more than three weeks before the baby’s estimated due date. In other words, a premature birth is one that occurs before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy.
Since these babies have not spent adequate time in the womb, there are chances that they might have some initial complications and would need some extra care to make sure they catch up without hampering their further physical and mental development.
Care for preterm babies
Here is how you can take care of pre-term babies
Neonatal intensive care
Some babies who are born much before the expected due date would require some special care and medical attention. Hospitals have these neonatal intensive care units equipped with necessary equipment and trained staffs to make sure that these babies receive the appropriate medical attention.
Have you heard about the Laerdal workshop initiative?
Laerdal workshop is an initiative in collaboration with Abbott Laboratories. Through this collaboration with Laerdal, Abbott supports training of Nurses on Essential care for every baby and Essential care for small baby. This training program designed by Laerdal consists of small babycare, exclusive breast feeding, manual expression of breast milk & nasogastric tube feeding, Kangaroo Mother Care, Family centric care etc. These programs are intended to impart essential care training to relevant paramed staff which in turn helps in saving lives of infants (mostly pre-term babies).
Kangaroo Mother Care is a technique by which the baby is held on an adult’s chest—usually the mother—with skin-to-skin contact, for extended periods of time. As suggested by WHO, It is suitable for preterm and full-term babies weighing less than 2kg who do not have other serious problems. Kangaroo Mother Care is an effective way to meet a premature baby’s needs for warmth, frequent breastfeeding, protection from infection, stimulation, safety and love. It has also been shown to improve bonding between mothers and babies.
Protect against infections
All babies need to be protected against infection and more so the preemies, since their immunity is still building. Make sure that the baby is not exposed to too many people. While handling the bay, sanitize or wash your hands. In case you notice signs of infections, immediately consult your doctor.
Since the skin of pre-term babies is very delicate, make sure you wash their clothes separately using only baby friendly detergents. Also the soaps/ shampoo/ creams that you use should be completely free of chemicals and any harmful ingredients. Always opt for natural products.
Nutrition plays an important role to ensure that the preemies catch up on their development. Read on to know more about unique nutrition needs of preterm babies. Breastfeeding is the best way to ensure this. Often very tiny babies are not able to suck on and in such cases expressing breastmilk to feed is a good option and works well. Here are some of the benefits of how breastfeeding helps with infant cognition.
So with proper training, care and nutrition, taking care of preterm babies is easy and with time they can achieve all the milestones and same physical and mental development that a full term baby would get.