Giving birth to a premature baby can be very disconcerting. It’s tricky to rejoice at an event as unexpected as the anticipated birth of a child, when the baby still had several weeks in the womb.
A premature baby is considered to be so before 37 weeks
When faced with a premature birth, all sorts of emotions can surface in parents, such as worry, concern,hope and an enormous sense of protectiveness and strength to help your child get through this period. If the baby is born before its time, he won’t have had the time to develop fully and will therefore be underdeveloped. Underdeveloped babies tend to have a lower weight and have a tendency towards specific health issues (which doesn’t mean that they will suffer from them all!). What we hope to achieve is to help you accompany you with your child during this time and prepare you receive your child as soon as possible.
Several aspects are important
Adequate information is the first step. Today you can easily access it through various sources: reference books, associations, projects, etc.. It’s will help you become more familiar with the special attention that premature babies require during their different stages of development and progress etc..
Communication with doctors
Sometimes going into all the nitty gritty details of your babies health can cause distress, something you may to try and avoid, but fluid communication with your doctor will benefit your baby. You mustn’t be afraid of asking questions.
Round up family support
At this time support from your family members is essential so that you can dedicate your time exclusively to your baby, whether your baby is hospitalised or at home.
Whenever possible, breastfeeding is best for your premature baby. Both from a nutritional perspective thanks to its antiallergenic and immunological benefits, and from an emotional point of view, as it strengthens the bond between mother and baby. Breast milk for premature babies can be provided preferably directly through suckling or using a breast pump. It’s not easy, you have to exercise a degree of patience as on occasions the baby has to make a huge effort to suckle.
Contact with your baby
Although the baby may not show signs nor respond to your presence, early contact between parent and baby is an important stimulant -just as important as feeding. It’s natural to feel a certain level of concern due to the baby’s fragile nature, but nonetheless your baby has a huge need for contact, as with any newborn. Premature babies can receive warmth, massages and skin to skin contact.
Send out positive messages
As well as direct contact, oral contact is also another way of stimulating your baby and creating a positive relationship.
Kind softly spoken words transmit love, security and tranquility. It’s a way to make them feel that they are not alone and bit by bit recognize their parents’ voice. Talk to your baby, don’t doubt it for a second, your baby can hear you.
Parent support groups
Share your experiences with other parents. It can be very positive and reassuring. It’s important not to isolate yourselves. Exchange feelings and concerns at the hospital as well as in support groups.
Kangaroo method and its benefits
The best thing you can do in relation to the care of premature is to provide contact through touch, massage and skin contact.
The kangaroo method has been proved to be very beneficial for babies and their development.
The parent remains seated or semi seating, cradling the baby for as long as possible.
This has shown to be a very effective technique in the treatment of premature babies, and it’s increasingly recommended by neonatal intensive care units whether your baby is in hospital care or at home.
Benefits include the regulation of breathing and body temperature, stress reduction, better toleration to pain, easier breastfeeding and a greater emotional bond.
The baby is in its mother’s embrace where it finds shelter and food. The skin to skin contact is vital for your child. It gives your baby a sense of security, tranquility and promotes the emotional bond between mother and baby.
A baby that is in contact with his mother is able to better regulate stress better, the kangaroo system helps premature babies better tolerate medical interventions as their pain control is increased. It helps start their neurobiological mechanisms and improve their adaptive responses.
Improves vital signs
Thanks to the baby’s close contact with the mother, the baby regulates its body temperature better. A sort of synchronization between mother and baby takes place whereby when the baby needs more warmth, the mothers body temperature rises to meet that need. However, when the baby has a fever, the mother’s body temperature lowers.
Improvements for your baby
It favors their psychomotor development, decreases apnea (temporary cessation of breathing) and improves their immune system which protects them from infections.
Their clinical condition will improve notably, with weight gain and more rapid improvement.
Benefits for parents
At the same time parents feel more directly connected to their child’s improvement, they feel more secure and it gives them strength during their baby’s time in hospital.
Those who have practiced the Kangaroo method confirm that it’s an enjoyable experience which adds a sense of wellbeing to both parent and baby.
It’s important to remember
To take care of yourself as this is also another key way to help your child. Take breaks during the care and attention process, establish support networks and keep a personal diary to jot down any doubts and to be able to let go of any negative thoughts. This will help you to remain calm and healthy and your baby will pick up on this and feel good too.
Adjust your baby’s age at least until 2 years old, in order to have an accurate idea as to what their development should be. Normally at 2 years old premature baby’s development has stabilized but until this time it’s important to bear in mind that they are premature.
There’s no reason why you should do everything alone. There is a lot of help available. Many autonomous communities have early development resources. Ask your GP or pediatrician for details on available resources in your area.
And last but not least: Congratulations! You have a baby!
Follow our blogs for more advice on parenting and parenthood.