The Early Stimulation of Premature Babies
The early stimulation of premature babies is important when it comes to guaranteeing proper physical, cognitive and emotional development.
The early stimulation of premature babies is very important when it comes to their proper development. To work with these infants, we must keep in mind their adjusted age. In other words, we must consider their due date, rather than the day they were actually born. This will help us determine a child’s current stage of development.
It’s important to know this because we’re looking at babies who have spent the first months of their lives in the hospital. What’s more, we’re working with them when they shouldn’t have even been born yet.
Do you want to know why the early stimulation of premature babies is so important and what the benefits are? We’ll tell you in the article below.
A baby that’s premature is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. However, there are also those that are born before the 30th week, or whose weight is below 3 pounds, 5 ounces. These infants are those that require early stimulation the most. Their evaluation is more complicated since not all of their organs were able to mature at the proper time.
Early stimulation is a set of activities, exercises, and techniques meant for babies that may or may not have developmental delays. These techniques involve play and aim to help strengthen and develop their potential.
Early stimulation means helping and accompanying little ones in their development. However, it never means forcing anything that they’re not ready for. For example, the average 6-month-old baby is able to sit up independently. So, what we will do is accompany and guide premature babies to manage to sit up properly, offering our assistance.
Children that are born prematurely have to mature outside of the mother’s uterus. As a result, they experience a delay in their development, maturity and growth. Therefore, we must understand the distinction between their chronological age and their adjusted age. The former refers to their age according to their date of birth, while the latter refers to their age according to their due date. A child’s adjusted age is what we need to consider when it comes to the evolution of their development.
Early stimulation has several enormous benefits for the development of premature babies. Below are just a few examples:
- The massages that are part of early stimulation help little ones improve their weight, size, irritability, and sociability.
- Early stimulation allows us to discover any possible developmental disorders or future learning difficulties as soon as possible.
- Improved quality of life: Early stimulation offers children the greatest possible development of all of the capacity there is in their central nervous system.
- What’s more, it prevents cognitive, social and motor alterations.
- Early stimulation also improves and reinforces the bond between parent and child.
- All of these activities promote children’s mental, social and physical abilities.
The early stimulation of premature babies must take place on a global or holistic level. In other words, it’s important to work on all of their areas of development and do so in coordination with the professionals involved. The exercises pertain to the four different areas of development:
Here, we can use techniques like telling stories using different tones of voice, making animal sounds, etc. Music is also very important in this area. In fact, studies have shown that music increases a child’s cognitive development.
The exercises used in this area focus on maximizing the physical, communicative and mental abilities of premature babies. At the same time, they also aim to boost the capacities of the central nervous system. Here, play is a common means of stimulation.
This involves facing the child and performing movements of the mouth, nose, eyebrows, eyes, etc. This way, babies learn to recognize different facial expressions. Anything that you can think of, like sticking out your tongue, inflating your cheeks, singing, so that babies can see the vocalization.
Affective and emotional development
Here, parents play a very important role. Physical contact with premature babies is essential, and parents need to give their little ones plenty of hugs and affection. Interactions via eye contact, smiles, calling them by their names, etc. are also important.
As babies grow, the exercises will adapt to their own rhythm. It’s important to always remember that every child develops and matures at a different pace, and we need to respect that. We should never force anything, especially when it comes to premature babies, as their development is slower.
So, now you know all about the importance and the benefits of the early stimulation of premature babies. What’s more, you also know what types of exercises are involved.