We totally understand that daily life with any newborn baby can be quite challenging and every new mother always worries if she is successful in nurturing and caring for her newborn or is doing the best or right things for her baby.
In many ways, your premature and low birth weight (LBW) baby might be just like any of the other babies. They just need to stay dry and warm and healthy. They need to be kept proper and clean, along with enough fluid intake as well as enough nourishment.
Above all, they need you, and all the comfort from your love for them and all the care that their mother can provide to them.
Why Low Birth Weight Or Premature Babies Require Special And More Care?
Low birth weight and premature babies might often be at an increased risk of death from infections, hypothermia, breathing problems or just from immaturity of some of their vital organs. As a result of which, they might be unable to adapt properly to life once after they are outside the uterus. This is why they require special and more attention, care and love.
Characteristics Of Low Birth Weight And Premature Babies
1. Some parts of their nervous system might not be well developed yet.
2. They might have very little fat under their skin. Especially their brown fat, which is very important for newborn babies to generate heat, might be very low.
3. They tend to lie very still and therefore might not be able to generate heat much by moving or friction.
4. They might tend to lose heat more quickly from their skin because of body weight or low fat issues.
5. They might have immature lungs, which might result in breathing problems.
6. They might not have much immunity, which is why they might be extra vulnerable to catching different infections.
7. The veins in their brain might be thinner and more immature than usual and might therefore be prone to bleeding.
8. They might be too weak to properly feed on necessary food intake.
Below are some of the most important things that should be kept in mind while taking post-natal care of your underweight or premature baby:
1. Breastfeeding On A Proper Schedule
Breastfeeding is believed and advised to be absolutely the best way of caring for and nourishing your baby. Remember to try not to feed them anything other than your breast milk at least for the first 6 months after their birth.
2. Maintaining A Continuous Skin-To-Skin Contact
Skin-to-skin contact will benefit both your baby and you. Holding your baby close and directly against your skin, which is also known as 'kangaroo care', will help them gain weight as well as maintain their body warmth properly. It will also help regulate their heart and breathing rates. This will also help them spend more time in peace and deep sleep as well as give you a better chance of successfully breastfeeding your baby. Comforting your baby will also keep them free of continuous crying.
3. Following The Safe Sleeping Guidelines Properly
Co-sleeping might have its advantages and might also make breastfeeding during the night much easier for many of the mothers. You might also enjoy the happiness and closeness associated with sharing the bed with your little baby. However, you need to bear in mind that some babies who're 3 months of age or younger, having born early or having a really low birth weight, are generally the most vulnerable to SIDS or the sudden infant death syndrome, when co-slept with. Therefore, you can sleep in the same room beside your baby, but try not sleeping in the same bed as them. Instead, you can always use co-sleepers or just move your baby's cot or crib next to your own bed. Also, always remember being careful about putting your little baby to sound and peaceful sleep on his/her back and not on his/her side or the tummy.
4. Monitoring The Growth Of Your Baby Closely And Doing Regular Health Check-ups
You need to ensure the fact that you visit the necessary doctors from time to time for your baby and take them to their pediatrician on a regular basis and never miss out on any important check-up. This will always help you and your baby's doctor to successfully track her progress at full length and hence identify any problems, if at all there are any, at an earlier stage rather than late. You need to also make sure that your baby gets administered with all the necessary vaccines at the proper time.
5. Helping Your Baby Thrive
Your baby always needs to be in perfect and good health as well as have lots of energy in him/her, so that they can grow properly and learn more, and you totally can help this happen by covering your baby's basic needs and requirements. In order to help him/her thrive and prosper, you need to make sure that you make proper time to just play with them or hold or stroke your baby with all the love that you can provide to them. Get to know the likes and dislikes of your baby, while you watch their unique personality emerge successfully with time.
6. Getting All The Support That You Might Need
We would recommend you to try and get as much help that you'd require and is possible to acquire especially during the first few weeks with your baby. If you're alone and in confinement with your baby, then we recommend you to get help from family and friends and have them around, especially during the first phase of the 40 days after your child's birth.
You also need to take time out for doing things that you enjoy and also build in some of your time for proper exercise whenever you're ready. These small breaks will often help you immensely in finding the strength that you need to keep going forward and prosper with your baby.