The statistics show us that in our country one in ten children is born before term. Although it is an unfortunate scenario, preterm birth does not automatically mean serious health problems for the baby if the baby receives the necessary care.
The development of babies born prematurely is slower
A child born at less than 37 weeks of age is considered to be premature and needs special attention from doctors and parents. The premature have a special rate of development, a little slower than in the case of term children, and parents must closely monitor the progress their child is making or not in order to intervene in time, if there is a serious delay.
In the case of babies born before term, it depends on how early they were born and how many kilos they weighed when they came into the world. Children born prematurely are forced to cope with the external environment before they are fully prepared for it and before their body reaches full development, allowing them to do so.
As a result, babies born prematurely will receive breathing aid and spend more time in hospital after birth.
When it comes to the physical and cognitive development of the baby, it must always be taken into account the age of the child when it should be born. Parents need to consider this gap in order to not have unrealistic expectations from the baby.
For example, if a child born at term can stay in the limelight without support around the age of 7 months, a premature baby will make this progress only at 9 months.
Babies born prematurely have several developmental obstacles, their sensitive body is more prone to illness and often cognitive development is also suffering.
Experts say that it is only after the age of two that an equal development can be spoken between a term baby and a premature baby. It is about two years in which the parent must pay special attention to the care of the child, so that the baby can catch those born at term.
Nutrition and sleep in children born prematurely
If your baby was born prematurely, visits to the doctor are much more frequent than for parents of term babies. The development must be carefully monitored and the child must be constantly stimulated and properly cared for in order to reach the development level specific to his age.
The feeding of a premature baby is slightly different from that of a 9-month-old baby because he has to gain more weight. A normal baby multiplies its weight three times by the age of one year, while a premature baby makes it 10 times by the same age.
The most important food in the diet of a premature baby is breast milk. This is the food that will help the body withstand infections and will bring the most benefits to cognitive development. Antibodies in breast milk cannot be substituted for any product to be found in the supermarket or pharmacy.
If you feel that you do not produce enough milk, you can make supplements with a milk formula enriched with vitamins and iron. If the baby is too young and cannot still suck, the baby can also be breastfed and fed with a bottle, whose nipple is easier to suck. Doctors may even recommend feeding it artificially, intravenously, or through nasogastric or orogastric tubes.
A peculiarity of the nutrition of prematurely born children is that they eat little at a meal, but they will eat more often, 8 times a day.
Sleep is also an extremely important factor for a baby born before term. They need 22 hours of sleep a day, they do not differentiate between day and night and they want their parents to feed them much more often than babies born at term. Doctors say that a premature baby gets harder to sleep a full night compared to a full-term baby.
Risk factors for premature birth
There are several factors that can lead to premature birth, the most important being the genetic ones. At the same time, it is extremely important and the way the mother takes care of her body during pregnancy.
Smoking and alcohol consumption are associated with premature births and low birth weight of the baby. To the same extent, stress or heavy physical labor are also risk factors for a premature birth, as well as the age too early or over 40 years of the mother.
To reduce the risk of premature birth, future mothers should pay regular visits to the doctor so they can always be up to date with their baby's condition.
Was your baby born prematurely? What development problems did you encounter and how did you overcome them? Write us in the comment section below!
Tags Premature birth Premature baby