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A baby is a baby – whether full-term or premature. November 17 is the World Prematurity Day. The global observance aims at raising awareness and engagement on the discourse of premature baby care.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 15 million premature babies are born each year. That is equal to one in ten babies born prematurely. This universal celebration becomes a field day to talk about challenges posed to families of premature children. These challenges also call attention to solutions.
Premature Baby Care: Guidelines
Early deliveries may not be easy but are increasingly common and perfectly normal. Pregnancy is a lot and concepts like post-term birth or PROM that make the journey more hectic. Even though preterm baby demands for special healthcare needs, if given proper care and nutrients, would be indistinguishable from a full-term baby.
However, there are a few guidelines that need to be kept in mind with respect to premature baby care to aid in the process of growth.
#1 Breast Milk Is The Best
Feeding breast milk to a pre-term baby is probably the easiest and one of the most effective ways to promote adequate health and development.
It contains antibodies that will strengthen the baby’s immune system and prevent it from contracting any infections. In case the mother of a preterm baby faces difficulty in nursing breast milk, it is equally safe for the baby to be fed on modern formulas available as per the pediatrician’s instructions.
#2 Baby In Neonatal Intensive Care
Bonding with a baby under neonatal intensive care is difficult but it is not a reason enough to keep the baby devoid of breast milk. The mother can still pump and the milk can be fed to the baby through a tube or a cup.
#3 Help The Baby Eat And Sleep Right
Pre-term babies need to be fed more often than full-term babies.
It is important to feed them at regular intervals and more frequently than a full-term baby. This ensures that the baby is satisfied and has a peaceful sleep while also getting the much-needed nutrients and immune strength.
#4 Comfort Clothing
It is important to keep the baby at a comfortable temperature that is also safe. The best way to ensure a warm and soothing temperature for a baby is through layer clothing. Dress the baby in two to three layers of clothing that are soft and easy on the skin.
#5 Bathing The Baby
How often you can bathe the baby depends upon the condition of its skin and health. Plain water is best for the initial months to bathe the baby. When washing a baby during diaper changes, soft wool and plain water are advisable.
#6 Handle With Care
Preterm babies are more prone to disorders and infections than full-term babies. Decisions on any item used to feed or apply to the baby are not to be made without the consent of the pediatrician.
#7 Maintain A Growth Chart
Preterm babies tend to grow at a faster rate as compared to their full-term counterparts. It is natural for the parents of a preterm baby to be anxious about the development of the child’s vital growth parameters. The baby’s growth rate is calculated on the basis of two ages; the chronological age (calculated according to the baby’s birth date) and the adjusted age which is calculated according to the day the baby would complete 9 months for normal birth.
Preterm babies record a growth rate as per their genetic characteristics and their nutritional intake. Most preterm babies catch up with their full-term counterparts by the age of 2.
The heart of the effort of World Prematurity Day is to communicate the affairs of this subject. Premature baby care is essential and serves as a founding base for the child’s growth.
Ensure to follow the guidelines mentioned here. Aware yourself and your partner to excel at parenting.
Also, check our list of Best Pediatricians in India