What Preemies Need

Newborn Tips#1: Don't Hush-A-Bye-Baby
You don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise. When ours first came home, we watched television and I would vacuum, wash dishes and talk on the phone around her while she slept. She got used to sleeping with noise, and I could get stuff done. I am still able to vacuum in her room while she sleeps (she is 14 months), and she is peaceful and well rested when she wakes up.
Newborn Tips#2: Soothe Your Wailing Newborn
When my baby cries, I comfort her by patting her back in a heartbeat-like rhythm. That helps her burp more quickly, and it also helps her relax if she's crying from insecurity. If this doesn’t work, I also try one or all of Dr. Harvey Karp's five calming moves: swaddling, shushing, holding her on her side, swinging her or letting her suck. Sometimes it takes all six!

Additional Information:

Babies in themselves are fragile creatures that deserve attention and extra care but preemies are more fragile that needs a bit more than others. It must not be taken as a burden for the parents but just like going the extra mile to show how much you love them.

Birthing premature babies, or preemies, does not mean that they will caring for the sickliest of children. However, of course, they need extra care and attention because they have underdeveloped tissues and organs compared to babies that were nurtured in the womb for a full term. And it makes them more fragile than the others. Below are the basic needs of a preemie that must be given special attention.

Warmth
Preemies lack the body fat needed by babies to regulate body heat. That is why they are kept in incubators until their body are mature enough to develop normally. Their body must maintain a certain temperature to be able to develop and to avoid infections and other complications. It is good to be beside your baby most of the times and having them touch your fingers to feel your warmth caring.

Newborn Tips#3: Help Get Your Baby to Latch
If you are having latch-on issues while breastfeeding your baby, you can use breast shields to help the process. This was a wonderful tip that I learned from my lactation consultant. I had to use the shields for an entire month before my baby would latch onto my own nipple without them. Had it not been for the breast shields, I would not have been able to continue nursing my baby.
Newborn Tips#4: Get Prepped
At 3 weeks, babies’ days and nights become more predictable, and you can focus on yourself in addition to your newborn. One way to do that is by reducing your stress level - and having everything ready for your hungry baby and yourself is one way to do that. Start by prepping for the next feeding as soon as the previous one is over. For example, after an 11 p.m. feeding, get ready for the 2 a.m. one by prepping whatever you need for feeding and putting out fresh drinking water for yourself so you don’t have anything to think about in the middle of the night. During the day, take advantage of the baby’s naps to work out, shower or catch up on e-mail, or take a nap too.

Nutrition
The best nutrition for preemies is breast milk. They may be immature to feed directly from a breast so they are fed through other means. Of course, breast milk is very nutritious for any baby since aside from sustenance, it helps fight infection and other diseases. Sometimes, additional nutrients are needed by the baby depending on their condition.

Patience
As they are more fragile than those babies that reached their full term, they need a lot of patience for them to grow normally. Patience and attention is also needed to prevent them from getting hold of some complications related to premature birth like apnea, anemia, low blood pressure and respiratory distress syndrome, among others. Even after leaving the hospital and NICU, special attention must still be given to them like regular eye and hearing examinations and during the development of their nervous system and motor skills.

Family Support
From infancy to growing up, they need the support, care and love of their family.

Preemies may lack the development and maturity than those who reached full term but there are ways to care for them to be able to grow up normally. Taking care of them must not be taken as a burden but more of an affectionate showing of how much you love them.

Newborn Tips#5: Keeping Your Baby Awake During Feedings
When our baby was eating slowly and sleepily, my husband and I would massage her cheek to stimulate her to eat faster. A gentle stroke with a fingertip on her cheek was all it took, and on those long sleepless nights, this simple trick was a godsend! Our friends have found it works great with their infants too. When babies eat efficiently until they're full before going to sleep, they sleep for longer between feedings. And that means you’re both likely to be calmer!
Newborn Tips#6: Help Your Baby Bond with Dad
Make sure your baby has ample time alone with Daddy. His touch and voice are different than yours, and this will begin a bonding process and give you a break. Plus, it gets the baby used to being with someone other than you. The first few times can be hard. Make sure your baby is fed and well rested, as this will give you at least one or two hours before you're needed again. Then leave Dad and the baby alone. If you stay nearby, make sure the baby can’t see or hear you, and resist the urge to go into the room and "fix" things if she starts crying. Your baby cries with you and you experiment to find out what's wrong. Dads need time to do this too - in their own way. By allowing this time, your child will learn there is more than one way to receive comfort, which will help immensely when you leave your baby with a sitter or another family member for the first time. You could have your partner bathe her, put her to bed or just read or talk to her.
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