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The Premature Child

Caring for a newborn baby is hard enough, and caring for a premature baby with special needs, who may still be unable to suck for her breast milk, is much harder, and may often seem overwhelming. However, it is important that you try and look beyond the present, towards a future with a healthy, happy child. Until then, enlist the help of your husband and relatives, and anticipate and expect that you will need to work hard for a short period, but the results will be well worth it.

More than anyone, your premature baby needs your breast milk. So, although expressing and feeding your baby takes a lot out of you, stick with it. You will be glad you did when your baby starts thriving soon. You could however give your baby a couple of formula feeds during the day, to help her gain weight and to give you a much needed break and rest from expressing.


Restrict visitors from meeting your child until she is two or three months old, depending on how premature she is. In any case, no one should be allowed to visit her until she has had her first round of vaccinations.


Your childís immunity system is particularly underdeveloped, and as such you will need to take extra care with regard to hygiene and cleanliness. What this basically means is that you should be particular about washing your hands before handling your baby. If you have a premature baby, now would be a good time to invest in a hand sanitizer. If you are expressing milk for your baby, wipe your breasts with boiled water before you start expressing. However, if you are directly breastfeeding your baby, you donít really need to do this. In any case, remember that with breastfeeding, your babyís immunity will develop at a much faster pace.


It goes without saying that all feeding equipment should be well sterilised before use. It makes sense to invest in a steriliser, as you then will not have to worry about constantly boiling everything and ensuring that itís boiled long enough. Simply pop your bottles, breast pump etc into the steriliser and switch it on.


If you have pets at home, prevent them from coming into your babyís room. Although you may love your pet, thereís no denying the fact that he does carry a whole lot of germs along with him, and you want to keep these germs away from your baby. Instead, after your baby has gained a little weight, you could start bringing her out from the bedroom for a few minutes at a time. She could be around the pet in another room every now and again, and then, a few weeks later, you could let the pet in her room.


In all likelihood, you will need to give your baby a few supplements, as advised by your doctor. Make sure you are regular with these. If your baby screams when taking supplements, you could express a little milk and mix the supplements with the milk. This will dilute the taste, and your baby may enjoy the supplements more. If your baby is crying a lot and gagging, forcing the supplements down her throat will only make her throw up. Be gentle and slow.


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