How to take care of your premature baby at home?
If your baby could leave the hospital is because he is already mature.
It is the same as any other new born baby but according to the age of the baby which is calculated adding the weeks the baby had when was born and the weeks out of the womb. Example: a 34 weeks born baby will be 37 weeks of corrected age when the baby is 3 weeks after birth (34 + 3= 37) a 37 weeks corrected age baby will not be premature.
During the first weeks the baby is at home the baby should be kept a little bit hotter than 22º C. The mechanism that controls baby temperature usually works properly once the bay leaves the hospital. If the babe is restless you should check the temperature and touch the hands, legs and neck to confirm that they are not cold. A high temperature is not good either.
The baby needs special attention regarding feeding, development and prevention of illnesses. You should be very strict with the application of vaccines since the risk of infections increases in babies before 35 weeks of gestation. The premature babes not only need more time to mature their immune system that the babes born on time but have less antibodies of maternal origin. The most common infections in these babes are respiratory and digestive.
Music has important benefits for premature babes. A Canadian study reveals that music reduces pain (provoked by probes, needles and other medical tests). Music has a peaceful effect which facilitates feeding. Try classic music, your favorite music or cradle songs.
Avoid taking your child to the street more than necessary. There will be time enough for it. Remember that the lungs and the whole body of the babe is very delicate.
Make sure your baby sleeps with the mouth upward (unless medical indication), with arms above the sheet and without any puppet or pillow on the cradle.
Stimulate the living space.
-Try to put soft light and music to help the baby adapt quickly to the new home.
-Keep the baby’s head covered, the cap is very important and put on thermal pyjamas.
-If you use a bottle feed, boil it in water during 15 minutes, remove it with a tweezer, leave to dry on a paper napkin an keep it in the freezer.
-A premature baby needs a lot of human warm. It is important to keep the baby against your chest most of the time.
-Wash your hands before you touch your babe, do not forget it.
-Do not let anybody to smoke in front of your baby and protect him against contaminated or perfumed places.
-Do not let the baby play with games or things which another sick baby has played with.
-Avoid closed and noisy places with a lot of people such as supermarkets, public transportation or nurseries.
-Avoid the closeness of people with fiber, cough, flu or any other illness.
Before coming home.
-Have the room ready. Take care of air currents. Wash and disinfect pillows, runners and curtains.
-Place a wall thermometer. You should keep the room between 16º and 18ºC.
-Check the cradle. Put it far from window and places with direct sunlight.
-The mattress should be a little harder than an ordinary one.
-Look for somebody to take care or your pet. It is convenient to keep it far from your babe until the child is five years old.
Go to an emergency if the babe:
-Sleeps badly for two consecutive nights.
-The body temperature is more than 37.5ºC or does not reach 36ºC.
-Cries disconsolate during one hour.
-The skin is bluish, pale or with spots.
-Takes time to wake up.
-Has signs of dehydration.
-Suffers from changes when breathing.