Taking a baby home from the NICU is a relieving experience for parents, but this can also be nerve wracking time as well. Parents must be sure to provide their baby with all the tools they need to grow into healthy children. The following four preemie care tips will help parents ensure their babies are growing properly.
Read to Your Baby
Parents with premature babies must focus on exercises and activities that help to stimulate their child’s brain development. Reading is an important activity that will help to facilitate a child’s growth. According to scientists, the earlier parents read to babies, the more prepared they will be for the rigors of school once they start kindergarten.
While reading to children is important for all babies, preemies especially benefit from this activity for two reasons. Reading helps nourish brain growth and development while serving as an important way for parents to bond with their child. Research shows that even in the NICU, reading to preemies helps foster this bond between parent and child.
Try Kangaroo Care
Kangaroo Care or skin-to-skin contact is another essential way for parents to help their premature babies grow. This intervention technique is a practical way for parents to comfort their child and help them bond. With both mom and dad providing Kangaroo Care, babies are able to feel parents’ heartbeats, smell their scent, sense their voices, and feel the sensation of skin-on-skin. This experience helps to release oxytocin for both parents and the baby, allowing the baby to feel safe and calm while reducing stress.
Encourage Play Time
Parents hoping to encourage their premature babies to grow should engage in playtime. This supervised playtime can include stuffed animals for babies, songs, stories, massage and similar activities that stimulate the various senses. This playtime will help babies feel secure and loved while encouraging brain development and further growing the bond between baby and parent.
Add Supplements to Breast Milk
Parents with premature babies must pay special attention to their baby’s weight gain and nutrition. As preemies have different needs than babies born full-term, parents need to make sure their baby has the proper balance of nutrition and fluids. Premature babies that are breastfeeding will benefit from nutritional supplements added to the breast milk.
Parents should consult their child’s doctor to determine exactly what supplements to give their baby. Typically, preemies will benefit from vitamins D, C, A, calcium, iron, calories, folic acid, and additional protein.
Babies that are born prematurely need extra care to make sure they are on track with their growth and development. With the above four strategies, parents with preemies will be able to make sure their children stay healthy.