A mixture of glee and concern might run through your veins when, after waiting for days, weeks and even months you bring your preemie home. When the day finally arrives, it feels frightening to walk away from the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) of the hospital.
Early deliveries shall not be easy, but bringing a new baby at home has its own prize.
Here, I have assembled some special precautions you can take to ensure the best possible start for the newbie of your family.
Before coming to the home, your preemie was in full observation under monitors, respirators and other equipment of NICU, and now it will be brought into a new environment. So before that, read all the materials provided by the hospital and do your own research.
Ask the pediatrician or hospital staff in preparing you to care of your preemie at home. Before actually bringing your baby home, you should be entirely sure on how to administer medications and use any specific equipment your toddler may need.
While leaving the hospital, babies must be secured in a car safely in the back seat. So, scan for a seat approved for infants weighing lesser than five pounds. Most of the time, hospital staff tests the place by placing baby in the seat and evaluating his heart and breathing with a cardiopulmonary monitor.
Giving breast milk to your preemie is one of the most efficient ways you can promote his health and growth. No doubt, breast milk is plentiful of nutrients and antibodies that are particularly important for vulnerable pre-term babies.
You need to make sure that you keep your preemie at the safe and comfortable temperature. You can try this on layers, like a vest, a sleepsuit, and blankets or a zip-up sleeping bag as per the requirement.
Take advantage of these weeks together to enjoy skin-to-skin contact, also known as kangaroo care. Just place your baby head to one side so that his ear is against your heart. Many researchers have proved that kangaroo care can enhance parent-child bonding and improve preemie's health.
Measure your preemie's growth by infant-development charts. This chart is a tool that the specialists use to evaluate and keep the track of your baby's physical growth. The results might make you worried, but bear in mind that chronological age can be misleading when it comes to premature babies, who missed out the development time in the womb.
Keep the baby's medical team updated whenever you notice any changes in your preemie's condition.
Visits outside the home with your preemie should be limited to the doctor's clinic for several weeks. And, also you need to restrict the visitors to your home, keep in mind that, nobody should smoke in the home, anyone who is ill should not visit, and everyone should wash their hands before touching the baby.
With all the vagueness, parents of preterm babies sometimes feel that they missed out the chance to celebrate the pleasure of a new child. So, don't miss to embrace every moment of your preemie's life. Take pictures, keep journals and share the joy with others.