Here is a continuation to Savithri’s journey as a parent to a premature child. In Part 2, she shares some of her learnings with us. 

 

As a parent whose journey started with an unexpected preterm birth, I wish to share some of the things I’ve learnt along the way and what I wish I had heard from someone who would have helped me with, at that time.

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PART 2.

 

 

  1. Moms, know that preterm births are on the rise because of many unknown factors. There are risk factors like chain smoking, alcohol or drug abuse or health factors like diabetes, high blood pressure etc. Most of these are well known to doctors and such mothers are closely supervised. However, more than 25% of preterm births are without a known cause. First thing to remember is “ Stop feeling guilty”

 

2.  At the NICU, ask questions. My list of questions was something like this:

 

  1. How is my baby’s condition? Has his weight increased?
  2. How does this equipment help my baby?      
  3. Why are you giving my baby medication?
  4. What types of tests does my baby need?
  5. What can I do to help care for my baby while he or she is in the NICU?
  6. When can I hold my baby? Will you show me how?
  7. When can I try to breast- or bottle-feed my baby?
  8. Who should I contact if I have questions about my baby’s care?
  9. What do I need to know about caring for my baby once we’re home?

 

3. Always be mindful and monitor your preemie and their progress. Have a close watch because they’re prone to apnea, which is temporary suspension of breath during sleep. This improves as they mature. They are also prone to aspiration during feeding,vulnerable to  infections etc.

 

4. Continue Kangaroo mother care (KMC) at home. This is basically lying skin to skin with your child. KMC is proven to reduce stress in mothers and babies and help with weight gain. It also helps the baby feel calmer after a turbulent atmosphere of the NICU.

 

5. Take care of yourself, Its very easy to fall into depression because of the overwhelming feeling of being a preemie mom and worrying about your preemie baby. Get professional help if you need. During this period it is important to keep up your milk supply so you can pump enough milk for your baby. Stress inhibits milk supply, so eat well, sleep well so your baby can feed well.

 

6. Involve the dad and siblings in the preemie’s routine. It’s important that the baby feels the family warmth and love. As a mom, you would be obviously tired, so get help. Ask for it. Happy mommies = Happy Preemies. This goes a long way.

 

7. Never ignore your instincts or doubts-I can’t stress this enough. When it comes to your preemie’s development and health – the mother knows the best. There might be times when you feel something is not right, but people around you (parents, husband, and relatives) might feel that you’re panicking unnecessarily. Talk to your doctor and ease your fears. It’s natural to feel scared for your tiny baby.

 

8. Form a strong reliable medical team of doctors, this includes, your neonatologist/Pediatrician, Neurologist, ophthalmologist/ ENT, developmental pediatrician etc. Don’t stop visiting them at least until your baby is 2 years old. Slowly the team size will dwindle down and luckily you’ll be left only with your Pediatrician. If you are feeling worried at any point, get professional opinions, if not convinced, meet more professionals/doctors until you’re satisfied.

 

9. Watch out very carefully for the milestones. Premature babies might end up having long term complications like cerebral palsy, impaired cognition skills, vision/hearing problems, behavior issues etc. Meet your doc regularly, once a month to check for progress. Never skip any appointments. Each little detail is important when it comes to preemies. We found out about my son’s condition when he was around 6 months old and promptly started him on early intervention programme. Presently there are newer techniques like Newborn Movement Assessment(NMA) or Test of Infant Motor Performance (TIMP) that can  identify developmental movement pattern delays as soon as the baby is born. Always be pro-active.

 

10. Being a preemie parent is a challenging role. Have a good support system, reach out to other moms and learn how to handle it. Talk to them to know about their experience. If the preemie is having long term complications, start early intervention and read about the condition and join support groups and plan the course of therapy/treatment. Always remember, you are not alone.

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The Yearling House is extremely grateful that Savithri was willing to share her story with us and our readers. Seeking help early on for the betterment of your little one helps in the long-run. 

 

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All comments (2)
  • DIPTI SATHE
    November 24, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Hi Savithri.. Can relate to a lot of things shared in your email.. I am a mom to a premie too... When did your boy […] Read MoreHi Savithri.. Can relate to a lot of things shared in your email.. I am a mom to a premie too... When did your boy start speaking and walking... All the best and loads of love and luck to both of you.... Read Less

    Reply
  • Venkat
    November 26, 2016 at 5:28 am

    Great & Super. Believe that every one is God's child and the parents are just the custodian appointed by the God. He will appreciate the […] Read MoreGreat & Super. Believe that every one is God's child and the parents are just the custodian appointed by the God. He will appreciate the genuine involvement and the efforts of the Guardian and shower His blessings over a period of time to achieve the purpose of creating every child. Read Less

    Reply

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