Premature Baby- Some Feeding Advice For Parents
Having a premature baby is shocking for more parents because the little one appears frail and tiny. Moreover, you may not be ready for the arrival of your bundle of joy when there are still a few months to go. Fortunately, most preemies survive because of advancements in medical science. Proper medical care and parental awareness can make the journey less daunting. As a new parent, you must know about every aspect of raising a little born weeks before the due date. Baby feeding is one of the most crucial aspects because preemies have different nutritional needs and capabilities than full-term babies. Let us share some expert recommendations on feeding a premature baby.
Every baby has unique needs
Parents should understand that every baby (premature or full-term) has unique needs. Your pediatrician is the best person to suggest the quantities and timelines for your little one. Remember that even small deviations matter, so stick with the doctor’s recommendations. Ideally, preemies require to be fed at least every three hours. They have tiny tummies, so multiple small meals enable them to gain weight gradually. Moreover, frequent small feeds exert less burden on their digestive system. Understand the feeding plan in the hospital, and follow it once you take the baby home. Fill in growth charts and discuss them with your specialist to monitor progress.
Little ones are creatures of habit, and consistency keeps them comfortable. Maintaining a consistent feeding schedule boosts growth and keeps the baby healthy. Keep a record of daily feedings and stick with the same quantities and timings until the doctor suggests a change. Maintaining a regular schedule for feeding, nap time, and playtime also helps the baby feed better. Introducing the little one to a nipple is perhaps the most challenging part. Once the preemie is comfortable with breast milk or formula, stick with the same to make feeding less of a task for yourself and the baby.
Choose the right option
Choosing the right option for a premature baby is another concern for parents and it is vital that they are given sound advice to make the choice as to which options work best for Mum. Many NICUs use preemie formulas with added calcium and protein to address the growing needs of babies. Rarely, formula milk may cause digestive issues because of the delicate digestive systems of the little ones. Parents may file a Similac lawsuit in case of NEC complications. You must check the product thoroughly and understand the safety precautions if opting for formula feeding.
Supplementation is essential
Since premature babies have low birth weight, pediatricians recommend supplementation for them. Besides breast milk or formula milk, your baby will need supplements of nutrients such as folic acid and vitamins A, C, and D. You may need to continue supplementation even after taking the little one home from the NICU. Supplement requirements may also differ, so check with the doctor and ensure that your preemie gets enough to pace up their growth with an extra boost.
Monitor weight gain
Weight gain is a primary concern when it comes to feeding a premature baby. Studies indicate that slow growth may lead to developmental delays in preemies, so it is crucial to monitor the baby’s weight closely. Babies are weighed daily in the NICU, and most preemies start gaining weight within a few days of birth. The ideal weight gain depends on factors like size and gestational age. You must check it with the pediatrician and keep track of the progress even after leaving the NICU. Get expert advice if something appears amiss.
Stay ahead of digestive issues
Preemies are more prone to digestive issues than full-term babies, so you must stay a step ahead. Expect the tiny one to feed slowly or develop a feeding aversion at some point. The baby may even drink milk too fast and spit-up. Let the preemie feed comfortably, even if they take more time or consume less milk per session. Get regular checks and see a doctor at the slightest signs of digestive problems. Addressing them early can prevent troublesome infections and painful problems.
As a parent, you may have to work hard to feed a preemie until the little one comes to par with the development of a full-term baby. Be patient and proactive about the baby’s health and make the right choices. Your bundle of joy will grow into a happy and healthy infant sooner than later.