Premature Baby - How to Care and Products to Help
Premature babies or nicknamed "Preemies," by definition are babies that are born approximately 3 weeks (37th week in the total 9-month duration) or earlier than their original expected due date.
First, this can be a very frightening experience for parents because being a Preemie means that the health of the baby is at a high risk, and being born earlier means that the baby had less time to develop in the womb.
What does this mean for the baby? In this case, the baby will usually be placed in the 24/7 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This is a safe place for the baby to be nursed and monitored after birth so that it will be able to develop healthy and ready to take on the world.
There are 4 types of Premature babies:
❏ Type 1: Late Preterm (born 34-36 weeks early)
❏ Type 2: Moderate Preterm (born 32-34 weeks early)
❏ Type 3: Very Preterm (born less than 32 weeks early)
❏ Type 4: Extremely Preterm (born at or earlier than 25 weeks early)
When caring for a Premature Baby, many factors in raising the child during early its stages of development are carefully considered by doctors and health specialists. As a concerned parent or family member of a Preemie you may have questions, and understandably so.
We may answer a few of your questions in this blog, but for further answers consult your healthcare professional or doctor as they will have the best answers and solutions in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) there are various monitoring and alarm systems the doctors may use to ensure the best care for your child. These systems do not harm them, they are there to protect them and to make sure they can give your child what they need when they need it.
Exactly how to care for a Preemie will be instructed by your doctor. The best way for the mother to know how to best nurse her baby during its Preterm stage depends on how Premature the baby is, and this can be different depending on each situation as some mothers may not be allowed to breastfeed this early.
What one doctor recommends for one baby may not be the same for the next so ask any and all questions if you have any concerns.
Next, it is important to understand that doctors do not clear Premature babies to go home until they are healthy and ready. Depending on the condition of the child after birth, the criteria for its release will vary.
A few questions can be... "Can the baby take feedings without tubing?", "Is the baby maintaining a stable weight?", "What is the overall conclusion of the body temperature of the baby?"
When cleared to go home, there are several things you can do to prepare for your child to have a comfortable living space as a Preemie.
❏ Medical Equipment – If your doctor has given you any special instructions regarding any equipment to take home or needed for your preemie's development, make sure to ask questions regarding such equipment and inquire the instructions given including follow-up appointments.
❏ Car Seats – These are always required for toddlers and small children to avoid injury during travel. When carrying a Preemie, they need a very specific type of infant-only car safety seat to lay in, one with a 3-5 point harness system is best. Your doctor may ask you to bring the car seat in so that you are able to test it at the hospital for adjustments. Never buy a used car seat unless you know without a doubt it's safe to use. Always choose a seat with a label that states that it meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.
❏ Breastfeeding Tools – Because the baby needs to fully develop their intestines, breastfeeding may require more specification. Many times mother's store their breastmilk in a bottle by using breastfeeding pumps. These can be found online with us at ExpressMed.com, or at your local medical store.