Here's How to Properly Care for Premature Babies

Reviewer: dr. Adrian 

Caring for premature babies should not be done carelessly. This is because the condition of premature babies is very weak and their organs have not developed properly, so they are prone to experiencing various health problems. Therefore, care for premature babies needs to be done in an appropriate manner.

Premature babies are babies born when the gestational age is less than 37 weeks. At birth, premature babies are smaller and weigh less than babies born at term.

On average, preterm infants also did not cry at birth and had low Apgar scores. This is the reason why premature babies need special care.


Tips for Caring for Premature Babies

Premature babies generally need to receive intensive care in the hospital before being allowed to go home and be treated at home. This treatment aims to ensure that the baby's condition is strong enough to survive outside the womb, as well as to help his organs to develop properly and function optimally.

Intensive care for premature babies is carried out in the NICU. In this room, the baby will be warmed in an incubator and given nutrition and medicine through an IV as needed. Premature babies may also need a breath aid, if they are unable to breathe properly.

The length of care for premature babies in the NICU room varies, depending on the baby's condition.The new doctor will allow premature babies to be brought home if the baby is able to breathe without assistive devices, has enough weight, is strong and healthy, and can breastfeed directly.

Once home, premature babies need to be cared for in an appropriate manner, so that they can grow and develop according to their age. The following are some ways that can be applied in caring for premature babies:

1. Do the kangaroo method

Babies born prematurely have less body fat tissue, so it will be difficult for them to maintain their body temperature. To keep premature babies warm, you can apply the kangaroo method. Through this method, your little one's body can come into direct contact with you and he will feel more comfortable.

Direct contact with the mother's body through skin-to-skin contact can help premature babies keep their bodies warm, as well as strengthen the inner relationship between the baby and the mother. Several studies have also shown that the kangaroo method can strengthen the immune system of premature babies and reduce the risk of death in infants.


2. Provide breast milk on schedule

Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for babies during the first 6 months of life, including premature babies. Premature babies need to get breast milk intake as much as 8-10 times a day, with a interval of 3-4 hours of administration. This is done to prevent dehydration babies.


3. Pay attention to sleep duration and position

Make sure premature babies get enough and quality sleep. Premature babies may spend more time sleeping than babies born at term.

In addition, it is important to always monitor the baby's position while sleeping. Make sure the baby sleeps on his back. This is done to reduce the risk of sudden death (SIDS) which is common in premature babies.


4. Complete immunizations

What you shouldn't miss when caring for a premature baby is to supplement their immunizations. Premature babies are prone to infection because of their weak immune system. Therefore, immunization is needed so that babies are protected from bacteria and viruses that cause disease.

Caring for premature babies does require extra attention and effort. However, don't forget to always take care of yourself, so that you are still able to take good care of your little one.

With proper care, the condition of premature babies will gradually improve and premature babies can grow normally like full-term babies. Even so, you still need to have your little one checked regularly to a pediatrician, so that her health condition and growth and development can be well monitored.

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