Premature births do happen, and they’re becoming more common these days. As more infants today are born early, even more, parents need to prepare themselves for what to expect as preemie parents. First, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor what you should know when caring for a preemie now; that way, you and your partner can prepare.
Preemies Need Extra Care
You can ask any parent with a premature infant, and they’d tell you it is extra work. But that work doesn’t always involve putting your child into a bubble and creating a manufactured world around them. While it does implicate extra attention, it doesn’t mean you need to shield them from the world.
The times with your preemie will be trying, but that’s because their immune system isn’t up to par with a full-term infant’s. But just because they’re delayed slightly doesn’t mean they will be forever. Expect additional feeding times, as a preemie’s tummy is tiny and doesn’t hold much food at first.
Extra Equipment Might Go Home With You
Premature infants might require extra time in the NICU before heading home. You might even be sent home without your baby the first month—some babies stay close to a year in the hospital, but that weighs on serious health complications.
Once your baby’s allowed to go home, you might take some equipment. If there is gear, ensure the nursery has room to accommodate it. Things like an oxygen tank or sleep monitor must be attached to the baby constantly to ensure their oxygen levels are normal and to keep track of their sleeping patterns. The best way to help preemies sleep through the night is not to make too much noise, which can startle them.
Keeping Track of Your Infant’s Progress Is Essential
Keeping track of a child’s progress is essential but direr with a premature infant. The best way of knowing if your child may have further delays as they grow is to journal everything from crawling to walking to grabbing. Tracking their progress helps pediatricians paint a picture of how well a child is developing.
If the development is off anywhere, make sure to record it and show it at your next doctor’s appointment. It is typical for a preemie not to be entirely caught up with full-term infants until they’re 3 years old. If you ever need extra help, reach out to your pediatrician about additional care services to help your child reach their milestones.
One of the other things to know when caring for a preemie is to love unconditionally. Preemies might be a handful, but giving them extra love and affection can instill confidence to achieve their milestones and build a stronger bond. Parents of preemies need guidance, and with this blog, you’re sure to feel confident in raising your baby. Take it one day at a time because they grow up fast.