A baby born to 37 full weeks of pregnancy and weighing 500 grams is considered premature. As a rule, the earlier the baby is born, the higher the risk of various complications. Such a baby has too little fatty tissue, so it needs to maintain constant body temperature. He may have breathing problems due to respiratory distress syndrome or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. The special needs of premature babies require special treatment. Let’s talk about what you need to know about caring for a premature newborn baby after being discharged, and what parents may encounter upon arrival home. In the article, you will receive useful recommendations from experienced pediatricians.
What should expect mom on returning home
In order for a child to be discharged from the intensive care unit, he must go through certain stages of development. Doctors do not prescribe premature babies until they are ready to breathe or eat on their own without special medical equipment. Babies may have yellowing of the skin (jaundice), low red blood cell levels (anemia of prematurity), breath holding (apnea), an eye disease in which retinal underdevelopment is observed (retinopathy of prematurity). Early born babies often detect cognitive impairment and motor dysfunctions.
After discharge, parents need to adhere to some principles for the care of a newborn:
- Your child is at higher risk of infection due to an immature immune system. At first, the mother should take all precautions and limit communication with other people. Avoid visiting public places and do not invite guests into the house yet. The organization of such a home regime should be strictly observed, especially the first 3 months after discharge.
- Prepare for the fact that the baby will sleep for a short time, but longer than the usual full-term baby.
- Try to communicate more often with your young son or daughter using the “kangaroo” method, which uses close physical contact “skin to skin”. Studies have shown that this is the best way to care for a premature newborn baby.
- Do not hesitate to ask for help from loved ones, because the mother of the child should also have enough rest, eat well and not be under constant stress.
Features of care for a premature newborn baby
When the baby, born too early, is finally released home, parents feel relief, excitement, and anxiety. Before discharge, they instruct mom how often to feed, bathe, change diapers and put on the baby. At the maternity hospital, the doctor is obliged to notify the parents about whether the newborn needs to be consulted by specialized specialists: an ophthalmologist, a neurologist, an orthopedist, a physiotherapist, since premature newborn baby may require additional examinations (checking hearing, vision, turning the head, blood test) and procedures. Make sure you understand everything that the doctor recommends for the care and treatment of the child.
The sooner you learn home to care for premature babies, the better. We list the main ones:
- The first thing you need to learn how to support the head of the child when you pick it up. Place your hand under the baby’s head and carefully lift it up. With your other hand, hold the baby by the hips or back. Thus, the weight of the newborn will be well balanced.
- Your baby may be too weak to suckle and may tire quickly. Pediatricians advise mothers to express milk in a bottle and then feed it. This usually continues to do until the baby gets stronger. If the baby constantly falls asleep while feeding, try changing the position, singing a song, wiping your forehead with a cool towel.
- For a premature newborn baby, it is necessary to create a favorable stop for a night of restful sleep – more than 10 hours a day. Make sure the baby sleeps on his back, not on his stomach, and he always has warm feet. The crib mattress should be firm enough to support his back and head. Mom does not need to panic if the child wakes up and cries – this is quite natural, because the baby needs to get used to the new conditions.
- A little can have problems with breathing because such children are often prone to colds and fevers. Ventilate the nursery well, but do not turn on the air conditioner. Sterilize feeding bottles and change diapers often. Wash your hands with soap and water before touching the baby. Never smoke around babies.
- Bathing infants with low body weight are recommended daily, in boiled chilled water (not below +38 ° C) with the addition of potassium permanganate. In the second month of life, the water temperature is allowed to drop to 37 ° C. Do not forget to lubricate the folds of the body of the child baby anti-allergic cream.
- For the integrated development of premature babies, use the “kangaroo” method, which has already been mentioned above. This is a kind of sensory therapy when a mom or dad lays on his back, lays the baby’s head on his chest and his tummy on his stomach. The baby can play, babble, and hug you in this position. Such contact accelerates the growth and weight of the newborn, regulates the temperature of his body, and improves the ability to suck.
- At home, you can independently master the technique of massage and developmental gymnastics for children. Let the baby lying in her crib, and the mother gently massages each part of his body with the help of special oil and does simple exercises. Before the procedure, do not forget to warm your hands: they should be warm.
- In the summer, the child can be walked daily in a stroller. In windy, rainy or sultry weather, the baby is left at home. In winter, they are guided by the air temperature outside (not below -10 ° C) and the body weight of the newborn (at least 2800-3000 g), staying outdoors for 10-15 minutes first, gradually bringing to 40-60 minutes.
In addition, caring parents should spend maximum time with their little ones: talk more, play more, laugh with them. Watch how he reacts to gestures, being in a good mood. Mom’s love works wonders: the child becomes healthier and more enduring every day!