Premature infants – What must be taken into account?

Becoming parents wish themselves nothing more eagerly than healthy new generation, which sees the light of the world to the computed date of birth. Unfortunately, despite modern medicine, about one in ten children in Germany is born too early. Even though nine out of ten premature babies lead a healthy life later, the first few years in particular are associated with many worries for parents and family. In order not to let the burden become too great, the parents have to adjust to the situation. This article will tell you what you need to bear in mind with premature babies.

When is a baby a preemie?

Preemies are children who are born before the calculated date of birth. Depending on how many weeks they are premature, they are given different names:

preemie: Birth before the 37th week of pregnancy
Very small premature babies: Birth before the 32nd week of pregnancy and a birth weight under 1.5 kg

Extremely small premature babies: Weight at birth under 1 kg

What is special about the nutrition of premature babies?

Since the development of premature babies is not at the same level as that of normal babies, there is a significantly higher requirement for fluid and calories. In order to be able to combat disease, promote growth and develop in the best possible way, high-quality food is required. Whether breast milk or powdered milk is used depends on several factors and is ultimately the decision of the parents. Breast milk is the best nutritional option because it is very rich in nutrients and perfectly adapted to the individual needs of the baby. It also stimulates digestion because it is rich in calcium and fat. Studies show that premature babies who are breastfed by their mothers grow significantly faster in the first year of life than babies who are not breastfed. Depending on the time of birth and their health condition, premature babies have to be cared for in intensive care units. In this case it is not always possible for the mother to breastfeed the baby. Furthermore, the baby may not have enough strength to suck and swallow on its own. In this situation, the mother has the option of pumping out milk, which is then fed to the baby using a stomach tube or finger feeder.

This helps the premature baby

Most important for the development of prematurely born children is intensive skin contact with the parents. This does not only refer to the first weeks. Furthermore, regular communication with the baby promotes their development. Even if premature babies are very small and there is a fear of hurting them, parents should pet them and place them on their stomach, chest or arm. It is important here to manage the balancing act of not overburdening the child despite regular closeness. The more time parents spend with their children, the easier it will be for them to interpret the signs of the little ones correctly. The baby needs a good balance between attention and rest periods. Preemies also need special clothes and preemie diapers.

If babies are born too early, worries and fears often dominate among parents as the carefree joy of the offspring. Even if the situation is different than when the child is born at a normal time, it is possible with the help of love and affection that the child develops healthily.