6 Guidelines for Caring for a Premature Baby
Caring for a premature baby is a delicate process that requires more attention than caring for a child born in the stipulated period. Therefore, there are several guidelines that we should follow in order to guarantee healthy growth.
It’s important to keep in mind that premature babies will go through various situations that we as parents should be very attentive to. Their respiration, for example, can vary abruptly.
It’s important to observe their regular breathing pattern. If you notice any variations, consult their pediatrician.
When observing how the baby breathes, you must pay special attention to their thorax, the number of breaths per minute and the noises they make while breathing.
Guidelines for caring for a premature baby
The temperature in the baby’s room should ideally be between 16-20 degrees Celsius (61-68 degrees Fahrenheit), although speak to your doctor to make sure what’s right for your little one. If you have a central air conditioning system, you may have to humidify the air.
The baby shouldn’t be in environments with smoke. Smoke could cause very negative effects on their health.
Premature babies are more sensitive and therefore prone to catching diseases. That’s why it’s important that they don’t receive too many visits at the same time. Family members and friends should always stay at a safe distance.
If a family member or friend has a cold or the flu, extra care should be taken. They should avoid getting too close to the baby. Similarly, if you as a mother are sick, experts recommend using a mask while breastfeeding the baby.
When taking care of a premature baby, it’s important to be careful with outings, especially during the first weeks. Make sure the baby is growing regularly and feeling well before taking them out for walks.
Always consult your pediatrician if you have any doubts. Avoid going to crowded spaces.
Premature babies are more likely to catch the respiratory syncytial virus, which is similar to the common cold.
In order to prevent possible infections, you’ll have to take hygienic measures such as washing hands frequently, using disposable tissues, cleaning and disinfecting toys as well as keeping their environment clean.
It’s always important to avoid daycare centers. Prepare a special room for the child at home.
Since their suction muscles are so week, premature babies need to spend more time feeding. Therefore, they should also be fed for short intervals during the day.
If they’re using a bottle, a softer teat should be fitted. If you notice that their breathing stops or they change color while feeding, stop feeding, hold them up and give them light taps on the back.
Premature babies can cry for up to 6 hours daily. Parents should learn how to interpret their crying. They may cry because they are hungry, drowsy, or because they feel uncomfortable for some other reason.
If you feel like they’re crying for prolonged periods of time, consult your pediatrician.
When should you consult your doctor?
Parents should be very attentive to suspicious situations. If you notice anything strange or unusual with the baby’s state or behavior, consult your pediatrician immediately.
Here are a few symptoms that you should pay special attention to:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Difficulty waking up.
- Changes in the color of their face.
- Abnormal eye movements.
- Absence of visual following.
- Not dirtying their diapers.
- Crying for no reason for long periods of time.
- When they don’t eat or eat less.
“Caring for a premature baby requires time, patience and dedication.”
Premature baby follow-ups
Premature babies require special follow-ups. Follow-ups are especially necessary for children who weigh less than 1,500 grams at birth. Their sight and hearing should be checked periodically, so should the development of their nervous system.
Pay attention to their psycho-motor development, when they smile, sit and take their first steps.
Their language development and muscle tone should also be followed up on. Some premature babies require speech therapy or physiotherapy when they grow up.
In conclusion, parents of premature babies must be very attentive to their baby’s signals in order to notice if anything is abnormal during the first days back at home.
Apply the tips mentioned above in order to take care of your premature baby and to guarantee his or her health.