How Can I Feel More Like a Mom to My Premature Baby?

My first baby was born 5 days ago, 11 weeks early. I never imagined leaving the hospital without her. I feel angry and sad at the same time. I don't feel like a mom at all, and when I visit and see her in an incubator surrounded by hospital staff, it's hard to believe she's even mine. I don't know what to do.

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This is not how you imagined your parenting experience would begin, so it’s understandable that you feel sad and angry. Your feelings and reactions are normal. One helpful step you can take is to share your feelings with someone you trust.

Also, if you are not already doing it, start Kangaroo Care with your daughter as soon as possible. Kangaroo Care, also called skin-to-skin care, is a wonderful practice that will help you to get to know your baby, increase feelings of closeness and help you feel like her mom. Your doctor and nurses may have already discussed the practice with you. Kangaroo Care is holding your daughter, dressed only in a diaper, tummy to tummy, in an upright position on your bare chest. Your baby recognizes your voice and the sound of your heart rate and will thrive with your touch.

And what’s more, there’s lots of research about the benefits of Kangaroo Care for premature babies. We know that your temperature will adjust to keep her warm. And we know that premature babies who spend time skin-to-skin grow better, breathe better, are more stable and stay in the intensive-care unit for shorter periods of time.

Kangaroo Care will even help with breastfeeding, that unique gift that only you can give to your daughter. Babies held skin-to-skin breastfeed sooner, and breast milk will help your baby stay healthier and grow better.

In spite of your disappointment now, rest assured that as each day passes, you’ll feel more like a mom, the mother of your precious premature daughter. For more information on premature babies, read more about having a premature baby.

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