When premature babies are brought home from the intensive care unit in hospital, they need more care than other newborns. When the premature babies are discharged from the intensive care unit, it is very important to make an arrangement for the health of the baby at home and to be careful of the parents when the baby will come home. Emsey Hospital's Specialist in Child Health and Diseases Experts stated that care should be taken especially in nutrition, skin care, body temperature protection and sleep in premature baby care. Dr. Bekir Çakmak informs the parents.
What is premature? What can be done to preserve the premature baby's body temperature?
If the normal pregnancy lasts between 38 weeks and 42 weeks and terminates before 37 weeks, the baby is called premature. Premature infants whose development of subcutaneous fat layers have not yet been completed are at risk of falling body temperature, called hypothermia. Premature babies who get more cold and get sick more quickly than other babies need to keep their body temperature in balance, their clothes should not be too plentiful and they should wrap their bodies completely. Exposing some parts of the baby's skin will cause it to become more cold. Particularly, the head should be worn with an appropriate size hat, hands and feet should be protected with gloves and socks. Care should be taken to ensure that the clothes to be worn for the premature baby are cotton. Room temperature should be kept at about 24-25 degrees. It may be useful to have a thermometer at home in order to detect this correctly and check the temperature. Similarly, it is important to have a thermometer at home to measure the baby's fever.
How should premature babies be fed?
Feeding habits and needs of premature babies are different from other babies. Like premature babies, breastmilk is the ideal nutrient for premature infants. If breast milk is sufficient, these babies should be fed with breast milk. However, as premature babies have more nutritional requirements, it is necessary to support breast milk boosters and breast milk when necessary according to the baby's weighing intake monitoring. However, in cases where breast milk is not sufficient for the baby, support can be obtained from foods specially prepared for premature babies. Breast milk can also be given in a bottle depending on the condition of the baby's swallowing and sucking functions.
What should be the cleaning and skin care of premature babies?
Special items such as pacifiers, bottles and bottles to be used by the premature baby should be used by passing through a special sterile process. Extra care should be taken for the skin care of premature babies. Since infants continue to develop cartilage and skin tissues and do not develop sufficiently, their admission positions should be changed at regular intervals. Burring of the eyes is one of the most common complaints in this period. These burrs can be removed with sterile water and gauze, but it should be cleaned with very delicate movements and it should be noted that the baby's eye may be hurt. The baby's bottom care should only be done with water and cotton, and cream should not be used unless there is a rash.
How to bathe premature babies?
Premature babies can be washed 2-3 times a week after setting the ambient temperature. The temperature of water to be washed for premature babies should not be less than 36 degrees. It is also important for hygiene that the water to be washed is boiled and cooled before use. Shampoos suitable for baby's skin pH should be used for bathing. To prevent heat loss, the baby should be thoroughly dried in the room where the ambient temperature is set after the bath is finished.
How should premature babies sleep?
Premature babies are more prone to sleep than other newborns, and can sleep up to 16-18 hours per day. In premature babies, 'sudden cradle death syndrome' is more common, so it is important to use a hard mattress in the sleeping area and prevent the baby from burying in the bed. Moreover, as in all infants, the recommended sleeping position is the supine position in premature infants. The blanket should be thin and perforated to protect the baby from choking. Special attention should be paid to the protection of the baby's body temperature and regular and uninterrupted feeding as this will provide the basis for a healthy sleep. Loud activities at home should be avoided so that the baby can sleep comfortably during this period.