Giving birth to a premature baby is an upsetting event. A premature baby is also known as preemie.
The premature birth usually occurs before the completion of 37 weeks of gestation.
However, the full-term pregnancy lasts for 38-42 weeks after the last menstrual period (LMP).
It is found that, in the United States, about 8-10% of all pregnancies lead to premature births.
As the premature baby will born too early, the weight of these babies will be much less than full-term babies. The preemies also have health problems due to underdeveloped organs.
So, a premature baby needs special care for the first two years after birth.
A regular check up with the doctor is must in order to identify the growth of the baby. Talk to your doctor about the special care for your baby, particularly about feeding your premature baby because it helps the baby to grow and remain healthy. [Health Complications of Premature Baby]
The doctor may suggest vitamins, iron and a special formula if your baby is getting bottle-feed. [Selecting safest Baby Bottle]
It is always recommended to feed (breast-feed or bottle-feed) your baby for a minimum of eight to ten times a day.
Remember that 6-8 diapers a day indicate that the premature baby is getting adequate milk for proper development.
Never keep more than four hours gap between each feeding, as it may dehydrate your baby. Dehydrations refer to lack of fluids in the body. The baby may not obtain proper weight if spits excessively. So, consult your doctor right away if the spitting is too much.
On the other hand, the premature babies may need extra iron for proper growth and development. By giving the iron drops for about four months, the premature baby will have the same amount of iron that is given to a full-term baby.
However, the doctor may recommend continuing the iron drops to your baby for one or more years.
For the first 2 years, the growth of the premature baby will not be same as a full-term baby. The premature baby usually appears smaller than full-term babies.
So, regular visits to your doctor help determine the growth of your baby at each stage, as the doctor records the baby’s growth using special growth charts designed for premature babies.
The doctor also observes the activeness of your premature baby, the time when the baby crawls or sits up for the first time in order to identify how well the growth of the baby is.
On the other hand, once the premature baby enters the fourth month after the delivery date, not after the birth, the doctor may recommend to give solid foods to the baby with lots of vitamins and essential nutrients.
The doctor recommends a special diet if your premature baby has medical problems. Remember that the baby may suffocate with the solid food if it is given earlier. So, feed the baby with solid foods only when their swallowing ability develops.
So, taking special needs to your premature baby can help maintain a proper growth and healthy environment for the baby.