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What Parents Must Learn About Premature Birth And Prematurely Born Babies?
If the baby was born over three weeks before the expected birth date, it is premature birth. Premature babies are born at the beginning of the 37th week of pregnancy. Every mother knows the estimated due date of the baby’s birth.
About 12% of all the births in the USA are premature births and about 13% of births in China are premature. Some babies are born quite early. It often happens due to complicated medical issues.
The complications can vary in babies. Your baby will face the risks of complications if is born prematurely. Continue reading to learn how to take care of premature babies to keep your child healthy and fit.
What Are the Characteristics of a Premature Baby?
The following characteristics indicate it’s a premature birth:
1. Big head
If the skull looks relatively larger in comparison to other body parts, it can be due to premature birth. The baby may also have a soft skull with wide fontanel and fluffy hair in such a situation.
2. Undeveloped respiratory system
Due to undeveloped respiratory organs, the baby may face some troubles in breathing. It can also cause apnea and bruising and infants may also suffer from hypoxia and dyspnea due to premature birth.
3. Poor digestion and absorption capacity
The baby may find it daunting to consume milk due to a small stomach. He may suffer from galactorrhea and cough in such a situation. The immature liver can cause several health issues!
4. Immature hypothalamus
Hypothalamus is responsible for controlling body temperature in the human body. Its immature development can cause heat dissipation and scleredema in the baby.
5. Poor nerve reflex
Premature infants can have poor nerve reflex, which may cause intracranial hemorrhage in babies. Therefore, the baby will need special attention in such a condition.
6. The poor performance of the immune system
Premature babies do not get a strong immune system due to which they need extra care to survive. Doctors give special attention to such babies to ensure they will cope with all the adversities.
How to Take Care of Premature Babies At Home?
Premature babies are not completely grown like healthy baby. Therefore, they need extra care and attention to get healthier as soon as possible. Take care of the following things if your baby was born prematurely.
1. Keep him warm
The room temperature should be 30°C to 32°C and fresh air should flow freely. Change the diapers quickly to ensure your baby is warm. You can also use a soft blanket to comfort your child.
2. Feed carefully
Feed your baby whenever possible to provide essential nutrients for his quick growth. Prefer breastfeeding until the baby is 6 months old. Thus, your baby will get healthier pretty quickly.
3. Prevent infection as much as possible
Restrict people’s entry in the baby’s room, except those who are taking care of your child. It is important to prevent infection because the baby has a weak immune system in this condition.
4. Keep it quiet
Your baby needs proper rest to grow faster. Maintain a quiet and calming environment in the baby’s room. Avoid unnecessary and irritating noises as much as possible. Your baby may find it daunting to fall asleep if he constantly hears noises. Treat your baby gently for the first few months to ensure proper rest and rapid growth.
How to Nourish a Premature Baby?
Your baby will stay healthy and grow normally if you feed him properly. Take care of the following things when you are feeding your prematurely born infant:
1. Appropriate time to feed a prematurely born baby
The mother must feed the premature baby between the first 6-12 hours of his birth. If the baby’s weight is below 2kg, you must feed him every 3 hours. Premature babies need a lot of nutrients, which they get from the mother’s milk. So, feed your baby as often as possible to keep him healthy!
2. Feed only breast milk
It is easy for infants to digest breast milk. It offers complete nourishment to a newborn baby. Therefore, mothers must avoid feeding formula milk to a premature baby.
3. Stay patient when feeding the baby
Mothers must stay calm when feeding the baby. Avoid movements and hold the baby close to your body. Thus, the baby will feel safe and get the necessary food to soothe his hunger.
4. Don’t let your baby consume the milk too fast
If the milk flow rate is too fast, the baby can get an excess supply of food and it may cause choking. Premature babies take time to swallow the milk. Mothers should control the supply of milk so that the baby can easily swallow the milk and get it again.
5. Pick the best pacifier
If you feed your baby through a bottle, use the right size pacifier to make feeding an effortless job for the baby.
6. Taking care of the baby after feeding
Do not lay down your baby on the bed after feeding. Hold him in an upright position for a while so that he can expel gases. It will comfort the child and prevent choking and discomfort.
How to Take Care of A Premature Baby After Hospital Discharge?
Parents and caretakers should provide extra care and full attention to a premature baby. It ensures the normal development of the child and prevents health problems. This is how you should take care of a premature baby:
1. Feed patiently
Premature babies find it tough to suck the milk due to very low energy levels. Mothers should be patient while feeding. It may take 30-40 minutes to feed the baby during the first few days.
2. Control milk flow
If the milk flows quite rapidly, it can cause choking. Many newborn babies face this problem. Therefore, mothers should ensure the baby swallows the sucked milk before getting more. Ensure the baby is breathing smoothly and not spitting the consumed milk.
3. Maintain the right temperature in the house
Temperature changes can badly affect a newborn baby’s health. Therefore, parents should ensure the room temperature is between 30-32°C! It will comfort the baby and prevent diseases.
4. Go to the hospital for a regular checkup
Don’t just keep your baby at home after hospital discharge. Book regular appointments at the hospital to monitor your baby’s growth and ensure he is healthy.
How to Prevent Health Issues in Newborn Babies?
Premature babies can fall sick easily due to their weak immune system and underdeveloped organs. They may experience various health problems and complications if not protected perfectly. A premature baby may face the following health complications:
Underdeveloped lungs in premature babies pose the risk of dyspnea! Keep the baby under the observation of a specialist doctor to prevent this complication. Many babies are provided with oxygen masks to supply ample oxygen to their lungs for better health!
2. Dropping body temperature
Some doctors keep premature babies in the incubator to maintain ideal body temperature. A premature baby’s body temperature can drop and it can cause the risk of severe health issues. Therefore, the doctors keep premature babies in the incubator for a few days until the baby gains weight.
A premature baby can suffer from jaundice due to many factors. Parents must follow the doctor’s suggestions and keep the baby in the hospital to prevent this complication. Severe jaundice can damage a baby’s brain cells, therefore he requires extra care.
Premature babies are more likely to get an infection than a normal baby. Their weak immune system can’t fight germs and bacteria as effectively as it should. Therefore, parents should keep the baby in a perfectly cleaned room and maintain a hygienic environment around the baby.
How to Calculate a Premature Baby’s Age?
There are two ways to calculate a premature baby’s age, which are as follows:
1. Actual age
It is the age calculated from the day baby born. You can calculate the number of days, weeks, and months to know your premature baby’s age.
2. Corrected age
It is the age calculated from the expected birth date of the baby. The doctors use it as a birth date to assess the baby’s growth and development.
Most of the parents calculate their baby’s age since the day he was born. It is not the right way of calculating a premature baby’s age. Calculate it from the estimated birth date to know the right age of your child.
What Precautions You Should Take If the Baby Born Prematurely?
Take the following precautions:
- Feed the baby frequently and patiently!
- Keep the baby warm and in an incubator for a few days after birth if possible!
- Maintain a neat and clean environment in the home to prevent infections!
- Make sure the baby is breathing perfectly to prevent hypoxia!
- Take your baby to the doctor regularly for health checkups and also to monitor his growth!
Premature babies need extensive care to survive and live a normal life. Parents should choose a fully-equipped hospital for the baby’s birth to avoid complications. That’s how the chances of a baby’s survival increase. He will be fit and fine pretty quickly if you take care of the things explained in this post.