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Premature Babies: 7 Important pieces of advice

Early deliveries may not be easy but are increasingly common and perfectly normal. Even though a 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 to aid in the process of normal growth of premature babies.

#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 in 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 birthdate) and the adjusted age which is calculated according to the day the baby would complete 9 months for a 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.

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source: Flikr/gatesfoundation

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