Your Premature Baby


During the first month at home, many people will want to come and see your baby. Since hands spread infections, request that anyone wishing to hold your baby wash her hands thoroughly with a bactericidal soap. Also, keep in mind that allowing the baby to be handled by many people increases the risk of infection and may be overstimulating to her. In fact, your infant may appear to be sleeping when she's actually trying to handle the stress of being around so many people. If that's the case, you may find that later that day, or in the evening, a feeding will be less vigorous or skipped altogether because your baby's just too tired to eat. Your baby may also become fussy and difficult to console. To protect her, you may sometimes have to limit visits from others as you concentrate on your infant's -- and family's -- needs. Most important in the early months is that you become comfortable caring for your baby, get any help that you require -- and grow together as a family.

Going for health care visits may be challenging if you have to maneuver a monitor, oxygen, feeding tubes or other equipment along with your baby. Organization is key. Write down your questions and pack your diaper bag the night before. Include an extra set of clothes, diapers and a pacifier.

It's important to fit your baby snugly into her car seat. Most premature infants need a little extra support (such as a rolled-up towel or receiving blanket) to make sure their heads are positioned properly and don't fall forward. There are commercially available car seat supports specifically designed for premature babies. Bring your car seat and any supports to the hospital when you're going home so that the nurses can help you make sure your baby fits just right.

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