The Basics Of Caring For A Premature Baby

premature baby care tips

Caring for Your Premature Baby

As parents, it’s normal to have tons of questions on how to take care of your newborn. But if your baby arrived early and had to stay longer in the hospital, it’s natural to have more concerns. All premature babies need intensive care and support for their emotional and physical development, especially in their first few months. Your pediatrician can help you care for your baby and help them be on the path to improved health and development. 

 

When is a Baby Considered Premature?

A baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered premature. Here are some of the characteristics of a premature baby:

  • Premature babies weigh less than full-term babies. 

The average full-term baby weighs about 7 pounds at birth. A premature newborn might weigh 5 pounds or even less. The earlier your baby arrives, the smaller they might be. 

  • They have thinner skin. 

Premature babies likely have little fat. Their skin may seem thinner and transparent. This might allow you to see the blood vessels beneath the skin. You might also notice that they have fine skin on their backs and shoulders. 

  • Premature babies have different features. 

Compared to full-term babies, premature babies have sharper and less-rounded features. They won’t have the white vernix protecting them because that is produced late in the pregnancy. However, with proper care, your premature baby should look like a typical newborn.

 

Premature Baby Care Tips that Parents Need to Know

Premature babies are not fully equipped to function without special care. Their lungs, digestive system, and immune system are underdeveloped. With your care and the help of your doctor, your premature baby can be strong and healthy. These are the things you can do. 

  • Make sure to always talk to your doctor. 

The doctor needs to check the growth and progress of your baby regularly. Your doctor needs to monitor your baby and discuss what steps you need to take to ensure proper development. 

  • Breastfeed your baby.

Breast milk is the best baby food. It is easier to digest than formula milk and avoids exposing a newborn’s intestinal lining to the cow’s milk proteins found in premature infant formula. Premature babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop intestinal infections than those who are formula-fed.

  • Be consistent with your baby’s feeding schedule.

Most premature babies have to eat 8 to 10 times a day. Don’t wait for more than 4 hours between feedings, or your baby may get dehydrated. It is important to note that premature babies often spit up after feeding. But this is normal. Talk to your doctor to make sure that your baby is gaining weight. 

  • Watch your baby’s growth.

Premature babies may not have the same growth rate as full-term babies. To keep track of your baby’s growth, you can ask your doctor for a special growth chart for premature babies. 

 

We’re Here to Support You!

There is a lot to consider when taking care of a premature baby. Because of their vulnerable state, you need to provide them with special care to ensure that they grow and thrive.  CMCFresno can help you learn the ways you can better take care of your premature baby. We provide quality healthcare to children of the Central Valley. Schedule your child’s appointment today!