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Preemie Pointers: 4 Tips for Parents of Premature Babies

According to the CDC, one in 10 babies is born earlier than expected. If you’ve become the parent of a premature baby, here are just a few tips for getting through the scares and embracing the changes that a pre-term baby brings.

Educate Yourself on Preemie Issues

Caring for a premature baby is different than caring for a regular-sized infant, so you might need to throw old wisdom out of the window and make room for new facts. For example, babies born at 32-34 weeks are usually too fragile to nurse on their own, so if you’re adamant about breastfeeding, you’ll need to pump your milk and let the nurses give it to your baby through a feeding tube. You can save yourself a lot of time and stress by preparing for these things in advance instead of waiting for the NICU to tell you about them.

Bond with Your Baby

If you’re allowed to hold or touch your baby, physical contact is one of the best things that you can give them. You’ll need to be gentle, of course, but you can still stroke their hair, cup their head, swaddle them in a blanket and cuddle them close. If they need to incubate a little longer, focus on non-invasive ways to interact with them such as making eye contact and talking to them in a gentle voice. If they respond to your stimuli, you’ll know that you’re on the right track.

Take Time for Yourself

It’s okay if you aren’t in the NICU all hours of the day. It’s okay to go home, shower, change, feed the dogs and enjoy a meal away from the hospital every now and then. Not only will this keep you from becoming exhausted and burned out, but it will also give you a much-needed sense of perspective. The walls of a hospital can shrink around you if you aren’t careful. Make sure that you remember about the outside world.

Talk to a Lawyer

If you suspect that your baby was premature because of mistakes or mistreatment by your doctor, consider getting in touch with a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice. This is especially important if your premature baby has any birth injuries like periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) or intraventricular hemorrhages (IVH). Only a lawyer will be able to tell you if you can make a case against the doctor or hospital, and if you can, you’ll need them to represent you in a lawsuit to seek the compensation that you deserve.

These are just a few tips for parents of premature babies. Remember that sometimes complications with birth arise as a result of mistakes made by medical providers. Whether it’s a relatively harmless birth injury, or a premature birth, if you suspect that your healthcare practitioner made a mistake you should consider hiring legal representation. The most important thing, however, is to love and care for your little baby to the best of your abilities.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) has done extensive research on the long-term effects of childhood hunger. Children are our main demographic of clients, so we work tirelessly to get their families the resources that they need to lead healthy and productive lives for generations to come. When you assist IFCS' mission to alleviate hunger, your support has a ripple effect that affects the future of our community. Take a moment to make an impact - #onecanfeed
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