Taking Care of Your Premature Baby at Home

When you give birth to a premature baby, responsibilities increase in number. It’s because he is born before the gestation period is over and, therefore, he might not be as healthy as a full-term baby. However, there’s nothing to worry about as your doctor will let you know everything about caring your preemie. It’s natural for mothers to face a little difficulty initially, but once they get into the process, it becomes an overwhelming experience. The more quickly you learn the various ways to nourish your baby, the more beneficial it will be for him.

Taking Care of Your Premature Baby at Home: Tips

Holding Your Baby

The first thing you should know is the right way to hold your baby. His head is intensely delicate and it requires support while sleeping and when awake. Place your hand behind his head and lift it gently. Rest your other hand on his hips or on the back. When you grip your baby this way, his entire body weight will be balanced on your hands. This technique known as containment holding is the safest way to handle your preemie. You can follow the same method while bathing him or laying him down on the bed.

Right Feeding Techniques

Even though it is highly satisfying as a mother to breastfeed your baby, this feeding technique cannot always be opted for in the case of premature babies. Your baby might be too weak to suck or he might get tired while doing so. Doctors suggest mothers to express milk into a bottle and then feed, when their babies are unable to suck naturally. This can be manually done by applying pressure around your nipples and then storing the milk in a sterilized bottle or cup. You can then feed him from the bottle or with a spoon. Sometimes, tube feeding is also performed on premature babies. Although it might seem a tough job for mothers, knowing the technique properly will eliminate every kind of feeding problems. Your baby will receive adequate nourishment and his health will improve very quickly. The feeding schedule will be determined by your doctor and you can follow it accordingly.

Adequate Sleep and Rest

More than ten hours of undisturbed sleep is a must for a premature baby. Babies born before the completion of the gestation period, although tend to sleep more, do so for short periods. Therefore, you have to take care of his surrounding and make it conducive for sleeping. Do not play loud music or keep your television turned on while he is sleeping. Always keep an eye on him while he is sleeping and make sure that he lies on his back and not on his stomach. The mattress should be firm enough to support his back and head. You shouldn’t panic if he wakes up crying in between. This is quite natural as he will take time to get adjusted to the new environment. The best part is to watch the innocent smile on his face when he dreams.

Protecting from Infections

Babies born premature are prone to infections as their immune system take time to become strong. Your baby can have respiration problems and be susceptible to colds and fevers quite often. It’s, therefore, better to take precautions early on. Avoid taking him out to public places, like shopping malls, theaters, etc. Keep his room well-ventilated and not air-conditioned. Feeding bottles should be sterilized and his diapers must be changed at frequent intervals. Make sure that people coming to visit your newborn, wash their hands before touching. To be on the safe side, try to keep your baby away from unnecessary touching and cuddling of visitors.

Bathing your Preemie

It’s the most crucial of all the premature baby care tasks. First place the bathtub on the ground and fill it with lukewarm water (test it before bathing your baby). Place your baby in the tub and support his head with one hand. Gradually apply the soap and rinse gently with water. Let him relax while you wipe his face and wash his hair. Do not pour water randomly. Perform everything with one hand while holding your baby with the other. Wrap a soft towel around his body and dry him completely. You can bathe him properly twice a week and give him a warm sponge bath for the rest of the days.

Essence of Kangaroo Care

Kangaroo care is suggested by doctors for holistic development of preemie babies. So how is this possible? It’s actually a kind of touch therapy, wherein you lie down straight on your back and allow your baby to rest on your bare chest. You can turn your baby on his side so that your heartbeat is audible to him. Another position is placing his head on your bosom and his tummy on your tummy (i.e. tummy-to-tummy contact). So the baby will actually be lying on his stomach on you. You can play, talk, and cuddle him in this position. Kangaroo care boosts growth and regulates body temperature. Your baby will also improve his sucking ability, sleep more, and gain weight rapidly.

Additional Tips

  • You have to monitor your baby’s growth and development. Doctors suggest vitamins and nutritional supplements which must be administered regularly.
  • If your preemie was born with lung disease and gastrointestinal problems, then the medicines prescribed by your doctor must be continued.
  • In chronic conditions, you can install alarm systems, which will immediately make you aware of this health status. Such alarms are usually kept for babies suffering from apnea, irregular heartbeat, etc.
  • The benefits of baby massage should be known to all moms. Let you baby lie on his cot and you can gently massage every part of his body with baby oil.
  • You can learn the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) procedure before getting discharged. This proves helpful in cases of emergency.
  • You must also keep an account of his vaccination doses and get them done on the specified dates.

Apart from all these, you should spend the maximum time with your baby and try to talk, play, and laugh with him. Observe how he responds to your gestures while being in the playful mood. You can also keep a part-time nurse for help. Above all, it’s the mother’s love that he receives improves his health and accentuates growth. So wishing you a happy motherhood.