Premature infants, also known as preemies, are babies who come into the world earlier than 37 to 42 weeks from their mother’s last menstrual period. Preterm delivery happens, and its cause remains unknown until today. Some attribute it to the health condition of the mother during pregnancy including hypertension, gestational diabetes, heart or kidney problems, and more. Preterm birth may also happen because of a mother’s lifestyle choices while pregnant like poor nutrition or smoking.
If you’re a mother who has recently delivered a preemie, you may have worries and concerns about your child’s future. Since your child is not a full-term baby, he or she will require special care which is different from full-term infants. This is why after you give birth your baby is taken to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The NICU is designed to provide an environment that will provide all your preemie’s basic needs for warmth and nutrition.
As a mother, we understand that you’re excited about raising your child and concerned over your circumstance at the same time. To ease your worries, we’ve identified six major concerns mothers of a preemie struggle with and how you can deal with them effectively.
1. Preemie’s Milestones and Achievement
Adjusting your baby’s age may be necessary so you can get an accurate sense of where your preemie should be in terms of personal development. For example, once your baby is 14 weeks but you delivered him or her 6 weeks early, simply subtract 6 from 14. You get 8 weeks after doing the math and you can use this when determining where your baby’s at in the milestones sections. By the time your baby is two years old, your baby should have caught up already. If in case you’ve observed that he or she is not quite there yet, this means that your baby requires your additional support and guidance for an extended period of time.
Also, you have to be keen in watching your baby’s progress. Observe if your baby is showing signs of development. From crawling, your baby should start to stand on his or her own, then start walking. If you see that your baby is showing progress, congratulation. On the other hand, if you believe that he or she needs more support and help from you, know that you’re not alone. You can get more information from teachers, doctors, other mothers, friends, and family members. More importantly, there is a lot of information available online to assist you.
2. Health and Weight Gain
Preemies’ digestive systems are underdeveloped. In most cases, preemies may not have developed the ability to suck and swallow well. With this in mind, proper nutrition and weight gain is of utmost importance to ensure your premature baby’s development.
In the NICU, your baby will be provided with his or her nutritional needs through a peripheral line like an IV. When your baby is 32 weeks old, you may then start breastfeeding him or her aside from the food supplementation given from the peripheral line. Once your baby has developed the suck and swallow reflex fully, feeding through the peripheral line may be stopped, and you can continue breastfeeding or bottle feeding. If you need guidance on how to continue feeding your baby to ensure that he or she consistently gains the weight needed, your pediatrician can help you decide.
3. Calming your Preemie
Your premature baby may get stressed easily once the routine they got used to in the NICU is no longer present. This may cause them to be fussy and may lead to a struggle for you as a mother. However, you won’t be able to calm your fussy baby if you’re not calm yourself. So when your baby cries, do not panic. Understand that your baby is still trying to adjust into the new environment he or she is in. It will also help to look at your baby as an unsettled one instead of a fussy one.
Also, be sure to stick to your plans the moment you get home. If you want your baby to sleep in the nursery from day one at home, do not let your plans be deterred. Just remain calm and focused. Your baby will just be fine!
4. Things Your Preemie Needs Once Home
Once you and your baby are home, you may be anxious about not being prepared for your preemie’s arrival. That’s normal. But as with any other babies, your bundle of joy will also need the basics.
- Infant formula
- Feeding bottles
- Anti-bacterial soap
- Baby shampoo
- Baby lotion
- Wet wipes
- Nail clippers
- Infant Thermometer
Accordingly to the local mothers of a preemie, one of their frustrations is unable to find the clothing that fits their tiny babies. We managed to be acquaintance with Tiny Babies, an online store that brings in a wide range of baby clothes imported from Europe. Their sizes mainly cater to preemies that are from 2.5kg to 3.5kg to below 2.5kg. They also have a selection for newborn baby clothes, so take heart that you will be able to shop for your little ones!
Online shopping is also one solution for you to be able to stay close with your newborn, and enjoy the breeze of shopping with free local delivery when you shop with Tiny Babies. What’s more, they also provide delivery to Singapore Hospitals (*Mt Elizabeth hospital, Mt Elizabeth Novena Hospital and Gleneagles Hospital only.)
5. Your Well-being after Preterm Delivery
The most common reaction of mothers who had a preterm delivery is fear. You may be feeling fearful because you are facing a situation where you’ve never been in before. Aside from that, you may get uncomfortable with the environment in NICU with all the alarms, sounds, and flurry of activity. You may even fear the possibility of disability, serious illness, or even losing your baby.
Some mothers go as far as questioning their ability to take care of a preemie. These feelings are normal as you naturally care for your baby. To help you get through your fear, understand that the NICU staff is specially trained to take care of your baby. Also, it’s not your fault. Most admissions to the NICU are unforeseen. Just keep calm and focus on making sure all your baby’s needs are attended to. Do not allow yourself to be stressed over thinking about negative possibilities.
Other mothers may be feeling anger, guilt, powerless, and more. To help you deal with any of these emotions, visit Healthy Children for guidance.
6. Second pregnancy
Research has found that mothers risk premature birth if in case she decides to have a second child quickly. With this in mind, experts recommend that mothers wait for at least 18 months before having another child. Talk this over with your partner or spouse to make sure you make the best solution for you and your future baby’s welfare.
You may not know it yet, but some of the most famous and influential people in the world like Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, and Stevie Wonder were all born as preemies. So if you are feeling overwhelmed, take heart and think positive. Believe that your premature baby is destined for great things because he or she is! You can make it happen by supporting your child with everything he or she needs and by being the best mother you can be to him or her.
This article is written by the blogger Ms Aurora www.msaurora.com