My first-born was a premature baby, a baby born before 37 weeks, as she was born at 34 weeks.
There was a lot that I didn’t know about when it came to premature babies, and today I’m going to share with you all what I learned from my own personal experience.
10 Things I Learned From Having a Premature Baby
1. It’s not the mother’s fault-
Often times, the cause of a premature birth is unknown, or there was nothing you could have done to prevent it. I kept asking myself if there was something I could have done better or differently, but my doctor and the nurses at the hospital, where I delivered my baby, reassured me that the premature birth was not a result of something I did.
2. Premature births don’t always run in the family, i.e are not always hereditary
There is no history of premature births within my family nor on my husband’s side of the family. In fact, I was completely shocked when my water broke 7 weeks earlier than expected, as I have never heard of this happening to anyone I knew personally!
3. One premature birth does not mean ALL of your births will be premature
As I stated previously, my first-born baby was premature, but my other two babies were born at full term with my second baby being born only four days before her due date, and my third baby being born just two weeks prior to his due date.
4. Premature babies will most likely stay in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit)
If you have a premature baby, you should expect he or she to stay in the NICU until the baby has gained a certain weight and the baby can do well on his or her own. My baby was born at 4 pounds and 13 ounces, and had to stay for a total of 10 days until she was able to breathe on her own and until she was at least five pounds.
5.Premature babies are babies, not glass!
It’s normal to feel a bit nervous when holding a premature baby for the first time, but rest assure, they will not break! I remember holding my tiny baby in my arms for the first time, and feeling terrified of hurting her or breaking her fragile body, but the nurse was great and told me there was no way I could hurt my baby just by holding her.
6. There is an abundance of support
There is great support after you give birth to a premature baby. In most cases, the nurses working in the NICU are fantastic, kind, and very knowledgeable; they will walk you through everything, from how to burp the baby, how to give the baby a bath, and so forth. I was blessed to have such an amazing staff surrounding my daughter at the hospital where she was born!
7. Premature babies are hooked up to a lot of cords
Often, babies have tubes and cords to monitor their heartbeat and breathing, and some babies may be under a light with a mask over their eyes if they have jaundice. All the wires and cords can be a scary sight, but they are there for a reason. I remember seeing my baby with a huge mask on her eyes and her tiny baby covered in wires, needless to say it was alarming to see her upon first sight like this, however, I knew each wire had a purpose, and I found out that the mask was to protect her eyes from the light therapy she was receiving.
8. Premature babies will most likely need assistance
Most babies will need assistance with breathing and feeding via a breathing tube and feeding tube. As soon as my baby was born and taken to the NICU the first thing the doctors and nurses tested were her lungs and a feeding tube was put in almost immediately. Note, even if your baby is on a feeding tube, you can still pump your breast milk and it can be administered through the feeding tube. Each baby is different; with my daughter, her feeding tube came out much quicker than her breathing tube.
9. Skin to skin is vital
Just like with any newborn baby, skin to skin is key for a premature baby! It was difficult to hold my baby and not be worried about one of the cords falling off of her, but eventually I got used to holding her and just enjoying her heartbeat be close to mine.
10. Premature babies grow up to be healthy, striving children!
You may wonder if your premature baby will stay little forever, or develop slower than other children within the same group, but in most cases, premature babies grow up to be healthy, and go through normal development at a normal pace. My daughter is now 8 years old and thriving, you could never tell she once was a premature baby!
Thanks for reading, please share this post with anyone you think would benefit from it!
If you haven’t done so already, you can read about my pregnancy story here 🙂