Tips for Caring for your Premature Baby at Home

The moment that you have longed for has finally arrived.  You may now take your tiny baby home to live with you and the rest of the family.  And, although you are excited, you are also scared.  Your preemie is so tiny, and he will need special care. The following are tips to properly care for your preemie at home. 

*Preventing infection

It is only natural that your friends and neighbors will want to see the baby. Unfortunately, premature babies are not as healthy as a full term baby.  His immune system is not as developed as that of a full term baby, and this makes him more susceptible to infections especially RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). So, your well-meaning friends will have to wait.  And, don’t take the baby out around crowds. Make sure his bottles are properly sterilized, his room is well ventilated, and that no one smokes in the home.

*Massaging your baby

The human touch plays an important role in the development of your baby. Massaging your baby will help to create a bond between the two of you and promote your baby’s healthy growth. Infant massages have been shown to improve the baby’s immune system and increase blood flow.  Your preemie will benefit from your loving hands.

*Lifting your baby

A baby’s head is extremely delicate.  It is vital that you know how to hold your preemie.  Start by placing your hands under his head and gently lift it first.  Then carefully lift the rest of his body.

*Feeding your baby

Breast milk is always best.  It is much more healthy than formula. Breast feed children are less susceptible to infections and show resistance certain diseases later in life. With preemies, breastfeeding is important, but the old fashion way may not be possible.  Your preemie may be too weak to latch on.  So, pumping the milk into a bottle and then feeding it to your preemie is a good alternative.

*Getting enough sleep

Your preemie needs to get his sleep. The amount of time that your preemie needs may vary, but most newborns sleep about 16 hours a day.  This time is split into 2 to 4 hour intervals.  Your preemie should wake for feedings and for brief periods of alertness at a time.

Keep distracting noises away from your baby’s room. Make sure that he is placed on his back on a firm mattress to decrease the chances of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Check on him often and a place baby monitor in his room. 

*Bathing baby

Bathing your preemie is simple.  Make sure that the temperature is right.  It should be between 99.0 F to 100.0F.  Gentle place your preemie in the baby tub while supporting his upper body especially his head. Be careful not to submerge his little head, and gently give him a bath.

*Accepting help

Don’t be afraid to accept help from your family.  You are not invincible.  Although you may not entrust them with the actual care of your preemie, do let them help out with other household chores like cooking and cleaning.

Caring for your preemie may seem frightening at first. However, with the right information you can learn the proper way to care for your baby at home.