Taking care of a new-born baby can be challenging, especially if the baby is born preterm or premature. Hence, there is a need to prepare even before the discharge happens:
Many hospitals let parents “room in” with their baby for a night or two before discharge. This can be a good way to practice taking care of your baby on your own while the NICU staff is still right there to help. You or your partner or both of you can room in with your baby and take charge of their care.
Additionally, here are some tips on how to take care of your preterm baby at home, after discharge from hospital:
- Protect your baby from infections: Everyone who touches the mother or the baby should have clean hands.
- Ensure proper breastfeeding. Just like full-term babies, breast milk is the best nutrition for preterm babies.
- Feed your baby as directed by your healthcare provider. Preterm babies may need to be fed more frequently than full-term babies and may also need special supplements or fortifiers that need to be added to mother’s milk.
- Kangaroo care: In a warm room at home, dress your preemie in only a diaper, then place the baby on your chest and turn their head to one side so that their ear is against your heart. Research shows that kangaroo care can enhance parent–child bonding, promote breastfeeding, and improve a preemie’s health. This is also an excellent way for parents to bond with their new-borns.
- Keep your baby warm and ensure that baby’s temperature does not drop.
- Give your baby medicine as directed by your healthcare provider
- Always place your baby to sleep on their back to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Use medical equipment as directed by your healthcare provider
- Watch for your baby’s progress so that you know that your baby is growing and developing as they should.
Take care and enjoy the journey of parenthood!