When a baby arrives prematurely, it is an extremely stressful and emotional time. A preemie requires extra care, and it’s only natural for new parents to occasionally feel that they are out of their depth. Following a few tips can make it easier for you to enjoy the experience of being a parent to a premature baby.
Rely on the Expertise of Hospital Staff
Finally leaving the hospital after days, weeks or even months can bring a mixture of joy and apprehension. Your baby has benefitted from the care of numerous professionals during their hospital stay. It can be daunting to realize that you are solely responsible for your baby’s care.
Take heart in the idea that hospitals do not release premature babies until they are certain that the baby can thrive outside of the hospital environment. Also, if you prepare in advance for the care your baby will require at home, you’ll be far less apprehensive about making the move.
Be Cognizant of Any Special Health Needs
Before your baby is discharged, carefully go over all special care that your baby may require at home. By the time they are discharged, the baby’s organs should be functioning and their health should be stable. Nonetheless, some premature babies have ongoing medical concerns that require care even after they have gone home. Coordinate with hospital workers and your child’s pediatrician to outline a plan for your baby’s care. Understand and be able to identify troubling symptoms that indicate that your baby is in need of medical care. Knowing what is happening to your baby and how to appropriately respond can help keep you calm even under trying circumstances.
Learning CPR and First Aid
Knowledge prepares you to deal with a multitude of adverse situations. Before your baby comes home, sign up for a CPR class that includes specialized training for caring for infants. If your baby is going home with equipment like an oxygen tank or an apnea monitor, make certain that you are knowledgeable about the equipment’s usage and operation before taking it home.
Enjoying the Quiet Life
Premature babies are particularly susceptible to infections as their immune systems may not be fully functioning yet. As a result, it’s unlikely you’ll be taking your baby out and about much during the first several weeks he’s at home. Similarly, you’ll probably have to limit visits from friends and family. Laying down ground rules for visitors is highly recommended. Anyone who is sick should definitely stay away. Nor should anyone smoke around the baby. Encourage everyone to wash their hands before coming into contact with the baby. In this way, you can lessen the chances of your baby suffering an infection.
While you and your baby are indulging in the quiet life at home, try some kangaroo care. Your health care professionals can provide details about using this helpful skin to skin contact method. Kangaroo care has been shown to improve the bond between parent and baby while also improving the premature baby’s health.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
The amount of care that a premature baby requires can be extremely draining. It’s not unusual for parents to feel worn out both emotionally and physically. You’re dealing with a difficult situation, and it’s only natural that you should experience some increase of stress. When you are ready, accept the kind offers of family and friends who want to watch the baby in exchange for allowing you a little free time to pamper yourself. You could use your time to run errands, have lunch with a friend, take a yoga class or simply catch up on some sleep.
Even while the baby is in your care, you should still see to it that you get adequate rest, eat a healthy diet and enjoy some mild exercise. Taking care of yourself is an excellent way to make yourself better prepared to meet your child’s needs. Keep in mind that you are not alone in this, and that there are support groups out there who can provide a sympathetic ear should you feel overwhelmed or anxious.
Jessica Blake is a blogger for elder care enthusists who are looking for baby nursery decorating ideas, healthy food options, and advice on toys and clothes for baby.