Care of the premature at home is more difficult than the term baby. The newborn who has rushed to get to know the world will have specific needs during the first 3 years of life, especially if he was born with a very low birth weight.
The mother's joy of receiving the doctor's approval for discharge gradually turns into anxiety, as soon as she realizes that she no longer has the help of the medical staff at home. Some information about the care required by the premature baby is therefore essential in this situation.
The growth and development of the premature, the meal program, the introduction of solid foods in the menu and the immunization of the fragile organism are just some aspects of the care of the child born before term, which differs in relation to a normal birth.
Vulnerability of the premature baby
Babies born at less than 37 weeks of gestation are considered "premature", facing a series of medical threats. They may need help breathing, may have difficulty feeding, apnea (respiratory pauses) or jaundice (yellowing of the skin due to excess bilirubin).
Depending on the extent of these various needs, premature babies can spend weeks and even months in motherhood, where they are helped by artificial means to reach maturity from a physiological point of view.
The criteria that physicians follow before approving the premature discharge refer to the baby's weight and other typical aspects, such as:
- Can the child maintain a stable body temperature when he is in normal crib for at least 24-48 hours?
- Can the baby be fed to the breast or bottle, without receiving food by special methods?
- Does the baby gain weight constantly, a sign that his health is stable?
Most babies born prematurely meet all the conditions of discharge 2-4 weeks before reaching the normal term of birth. Infants undergoing surgery or those born with malformations usually exceed the normal date of birth with maternity admission.
Premature growth and development
It is very important to take the baby prematurely to frequent pediatric consultations after leaving the medical unit. The specialist will monitor your baby's weight gain and will give you helpful tips for caring for him at home.
The pediatrician will also tell you what type of diet is ideal for your baby, as it is very possible to recommend supplementation of vitamins, iron or milk powder. After about 4 months of iron supplementation, babies born prematurely get to accumulate the same amount of important mineral as the little ones brought to the world at term.
Because the medical offices are frequented by older children with viral infections, try to schedule consultations at first thing in the morning. Be careful to keep your baby sensitive from contact with other people or with crowded environments, to avoid contamination of any kind.
The growth of premature infants is slower in the first 2 years, so the doctor will keep track of body changes throughout this period. It is important to keep track of how active your baby is, when he or she manages to stay in the ass for the first time, and when he starts to walk around the bush.
It is also important to postpone the child's exposure to public places and limit the access of visitors to the home. Ask people who touch the baby to wash their hands beforehand, because the immune system of the premature will not cope with the possible pathogens they contact.
Feeding the premature
In general, premature feeding is done 8-10 times a day. Never wait more than 4 hours between meals, as your chicken may become dehydrated. 6-8 diapers used daily indicate that the baby receives enough food to grow harmoniously.
Premature babies tend to regurgitate after eating. This is normal, but you can talk to your doctor if you notice insufficient or absent weight gain.
The switch to solid food is made, at the recommendation of the doctors, around the age of 4-6 months from the date of normal birth (not from the actual day of birth). The premature will not have the body as developed as a full-term baby, so it will need more time to acquire the swallowing capacity. In case of special medical problems, the pediatrician may indicate a special diet, depending on the needs.
Rest of the premature
Although she sleeps more cumulative hours per day than a full-term baby, the premature tends to rest in shorter intervals. All babies, especially those who came to the world before the weather, must lie on their backs, on a firm mattress, without a pillow.
Sleep on the tummy increases the risk of developing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, specifically the unexplained death during sleep, before the first year of life.
Immunization of the premature
Immunization of the premature refers to the regular vaccines that newborns have to take in the first months of life, the same as for babies born on a normal date. One difference is that your baby may need the flu shot when he is 6 months old, because of the more severe symptoms he is experiencing, compared to children who are developing early.
Ask your doctor to recommend the vaccination of all family members, so as to protect your little one from the danger of contacting viruses from the external environment.
External movements of the premature
The outward movements of the premature home are ideal in the personal car, in a special baby seat. Make sure the baby has no room to bend or shake in the chair, using a few twisted towels for support.
When driving, watch the little boy with the help of the rear-view mirror or ask someone close to accompany you, sitting on the back seat next to the child. Never leave the baby alone in the car, not even for a few minutes.
Most special measures for care of the premature at home become less and less necessary after the age of 2 years, when most children born before term recover the lost "land" and reach the same stage of development with that of the children who did not rush to reach the world.