Newborn care week is officially recognised in India between the 15th and 21st of November, which coincides with World Prematurity Day on November 17th. During this week, we are reminded of the important role that parents, families, and caregivers play in helping newborn babies, especially preemies, to survive and thrive at home. Here are seven essential tips for caring for a premature baby once the baby and mother are discharged from the hospital.
1) Keep your baby warm
It is essential to keep your baby warm as their body cannot regulate temperature fully yet. Babies need help regulating their body temperature in the first weeks of life, so it’s important to have them wear layers of clothing that can be removed or added as needed. Keeping your baby clothed and well-covered should reduce the risk of overheating and even respiratory issues.
2) Follow Kangaroo Care
Kangaroo care is an excellent way to help premature babies grow and thrive. The best way to do it is by cuddling the baby skin-to-skin against your chest with the baby’s head facing your heart.
The baby should be kept like that as much as possible, and you can even take him or her with you in bed when you sleep.
According to research by premature birth experts, if your baby is born early, he or she will grow better and stronger in those first few weeks of life if they spend most of their time attached to your body skin-to-skin. Hence, this is an ideal method of preterm birth care.
3) Monitor your baby’s sleep requirements
Premature babies may need more sleep than babies born after a full term. Normal for a preterm baby to sleep throughout the day, it helps growth and development.
The best thing you can do to protect your baby while they’re sleeping is to always keep them on their back and never on their stomach, and to lay them down on a hard, flat surface with no pillows or blankets.
4) Limit visitors at home
Limit visitors to your home. This is important because visitors can bring germs and infections that may harm your baby. If you must have visitors, make sure they wash their hands before touching the baby. Also, it is a good idea to keep visitors in one room (for example, the living room) so that germs don’t spread through the house.
5) Do sponge baths for your baby
When prepping water for the baby’s bath, make sure the water is not too hot, just lukewarm. When it comes to washing the hair, plain water will suffice, avoid using shampoos at this stage.
Do not put any bath foam in the bath. It is most recommended to sponge bathe your baby until he reaches a weight of about 2.5kg. Also, it’s best to avoid applying lotions or oils until your baby is at least a month old.
6) Get vaccinations on time
The most important thing you can do to care for your baby is to get all the necessary vaccinations on time, as recommended by the pediatrician. As with all newborns, but more so for preemies, ensure you schedule their checkups regularly so the doctor can monitor them and make sure they’re growing and developing well.
7) Schedule a visit with your Pediatrician or Neonatologist
Please schedule a visit with your pediatrician or neonatologist before you get started on a care plan for your baby. Your pediatrician can provide you with the information and support that you need to feel confident in caring for your baby.
For a premature baby or babies born with any illness or birth defects, you may need to consult a neonatologist for detailed guidance. The difference between a neonatologist and a pediatrician is that a neonatologist is a specialist who mainly deals with premature or sick newborn infants, while a pediatrician specializes in caring for infants, children, and adolescents.
Plus, they will be able to answer any questions that you may have about how to take care of your little one. We can set up an appointment for you to receive an assessment to determine the best care for your baby.
If you are looking for the best pediatrician or neonatologist in Mumbai and live in areas near Worli, Prabhadevi, Dadar, or Lower Parel, you can easily access our office to get professional guidance for your baby. Click the link below to book an appointment.
You may also want to read about New Parent’s Guide to the First Few Weeks With a Newborn.