Advice Column, Health

Caring For Your Premmie At Home



  • Parenting Hub
  • Category Advice Column, Health

The idea of bringing a newborn home is daunting for most parents, but the idea of bringing your premmie home after a month of NICU is overwhelming. Expect a few glitches. It’s normal to have some less-than-perfect moments with your premature baby, especially in the early days as you get the hang of caring for her without the security of neonatal physicians and nurses nearby. Do consult your paediatrician with concerns, but also remember that the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) experts wouldn’t have sent your baby home unless they felt you both were ready. With each day, you’ll get a little more confident, your baby will become better at communicating her needs, and you’ll find your rhythm, just like any other mom-baby team.

The day arrives…she is finally coming home! Her Dr made the decision to discharge her at 1.94kg instead of the normal 2.2kg. We are thrilled! Unfortunately for us, my husband is booked for an operation on the same day. All I can say is that the Lord for my parents, especially my mom as she was by my side from the beginning. There are a couple of things that you may need to make a note of…

Special equipment
Baby may need special equipment that may assist in breathing etc. but your doctor will speak to you about your specific needs. Stock up on tiny clothing, generally it will be a while until baby fits into newborn clothing. Chubby Bunny (link to www.chubbybunny.co.za) supplies clothing from 1kg onwards. We also suggest purchasing a baby monitor, one that can monitor baby’s breathing. This will give you peace of mind when baby is sleeping.

Besides relying on support from those around you. Chubby Bunny is there to make the journey a little less stressful. Through education & support, Chubby Bunny’s main objective is to support families whose lives have been touched by prematurity.

Special skills
Let me set the scene, when a baby is so small they tend to lack ‘choking’ skills. I believe I aged at least 10years the day Olivia came home from NICU. After drinking too much milk she went limp and blue. This happened 3 times that day. After we frantically tapped her, she was back to ‘normal’, we rushed her to the NICU, where I was told this is normal and welcome to motherhood. Besides feeling a little angry, it would have been nice if someone had told me before I brought my premmie home.

Although it comes easily to term babies, learning to eat is a challenge for preemies. Whether bottle feeding or breastfeeding, babies need to develop three major skills in order to be able to eat effectively:

A mature suck: Premature babies aren’t born with mature sucking skills. In order to drink milk from the breast or a bottle, babies need to have a suck that is both coordinated and strong.
A mature swallow: Swallowing large volumes of milk takes a lot of strength, and babies need to develop the muscles in their tongue and jaw to swallow well.
Coordination of sucking, swallowing, and breathing: The most challenging of the feeding skills, it can take babies a while to learn how to coordinate breathing with drinking milk.

Try and take a CPR course. This life saving skill will give your more confidence when dealing with situations such as these.

Support
If you were able to attend an antenatal class, then keep close to your midwife. Keep her number on speed dial. If you don’t have someone, then speak to your NICU nurse. They should know of support groups in your area. Follow us on Facebook {Chubby Bunny Premmie Support}, share your experiences with other parents. The premmie journey should be full of hope, and your words could help parents who are going through a similar situation to yours.

Chubby Bunny is the first company in South Africa to supply critical starter packs for premmies. We supply high quality goods ensuring the little miracle is well cared for, from organic skin care sensitive for their soft skin, petite clothing small enough to wrap around their tiny bodies, Premmie nappies, a Premmie Support Booklet equipped to help parents understand the NICU and how to care for their Premmies. These hampers can be shipped overnight to main centres South Africa.

Visit our online store www.chubbybunny.co.za for more information on the hampers we provide or simply contact Sian at sian@chubbybunny.co.za.

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