The birth of a premature baby is an overwhelming experience that comes with many questions, worries and uncertainties from parents. Premature babies often stay in the hospital for some time after birth and are nursed and given intensive medical care. At some point, however, the big moment comes for parents of premature babies when they can take their child home. And then at the latest the question arises as to what such a little person needs at home and how everyday life with a premature baby can be mastered.
Time to return home
Most premature babies are allowed to go home around their due date. However, only on the condition that they are stable enough for this. A premature baby is only released if it can maintain its body temperature independently without a warming bed. It should be able to breathe alone and without technical assistance and drink from a bottle or from the breast. If possible, infusions should no longer be necessary.
In rare cases, an exception will be made. If the child's general condition is otherwise good, it can also happen that a premature baby is discharged with breathing aid or a feeding tube. However, this should be carefully considered with the doctor in advance.
Preparations for discharge
Many parents are looking forward to being released. But of course they also fear and respect it. The idea of having to manage all of the care and support yourself from now on - without medical know-how and the helping hands of the clinic staff - can be very intimidating.
This fear isHowever, this is usually unfounded. Before a premature baby is allowed to go home, parents are prepared for the care and special needs of their child. This may include handling monitoring devices, administering medications, and nutrition. At the discharge interview, parents can discuss any open questions and problems with the medical team and nursing staff.
Parents of premature babies can also apply for support services for the time after discharge from the hospital in advance (with the help of the clinic's social services). So can e.g. For example, the use of a pediatric nurse can be organized through the health insurance company. She helps parents take care of their child in the initial period after discharge. This makes particular sense if the premature baby is discharged home with medical equipment or continues to require complex medical care.
Parents of premature babies are of course also entitled to support from a midwife. You are usually entitled to 10 days of follow-up care. However, in the event of a premature birth, a doctor can also prescribe longer midwifery care in advance.
In addition to the midwife, the pediatrician also plays an important role, especially in the early days. Premature babies in particular should be examined closely in the first few weeks and months in order to identify and counteract possible deficits at an early stage. In the best case scenario, it should be a pediatrician who has experience with premature babies and practices in the local area.
The most important purchases
Due to the high emotional and time demands, parents of premature babies often do not have time to finish setting up the children's room. However, that is not a problem. It is important that the child has a bed that can also be in the parents' bedroom. A changing table with a radiant heater should also be available.
Of course, all utensils for supplies should also be available at home. These include, for example:
- Bottles (possibly with premature baby teats)
- a breast pump if necessary (can be borrowed from the pharmacy)
- small pacifiers or premature baby pacifiers
- Care products (especially a good wound protection cream)
- Diapers size 0 (for babies from 1 kg) or size 1 (from 2 kg)
In many cases, premature babies still need medicine at home. Of course, this must always be in stock and ordered in a timely manner through the pediatrician's practice. Technical aids such as sensor mats or sock measuring devices, which are freely available, are only recommended to a limited extent because they have not been validated. All devices or monitors that are actually necessary are prescribed by a doctor.
Many premature babies are still so small after discharge that they cannot fit into standard baby clothes. While appropriate clothing is often provided in the hospital, parents of premature babies now have to get appropriate clothing. At Wombly adaptive kidswear find parents of premature babies adaptive preemie clothing such as bodysuits, trousers, jackets and hats starting from size 38. Even extra small ones Sleeping bags are available. All products are designed to make caring for premature babies easier. Because the cuts and closures were want todesigned to be particularly easy to put on and take off. They are also made from natural materials so that the sensitive skin of premature babies is not irritated.
To transport the premature baby, it is recommended to buy or borrow a premature baby insert for the car seat. There are also inserts for the stroller. It is important that the child is transported flat and lying down for as long as possible. This can prevent breathing from becoming difficult. You should also make sure that the premature baby's head cannot fall forward in the child seat or stroller, as this also affects the oxygen supply.
Despite all the preparation, the initial time at home will probably be very strenuous. But especially when the intensive hospital phase is over, it is time for parents to pay attention to their own needs and take care of themselves. Otherwise there is a risk of burning out physically and mentally and no longer being able to cope with the demands of everyday life.
Friends and relatives play an important role in this context. They can not only offer practical relief in everyday life (e.g. doing the shopping, looking after siblings, etc.), but also a listening ear or a nice distraction. Because it's also good for parents of premature babies to think about other things from time to time.
In some cases, psychotherapeutic support can be helpful. It is worth researching the psychotherapist chambers or the statutory health insurance associations. There is also the option of joining a self-help group in order to exchange ideas with other affected parents who can understand your own situation. If this is too much for you, you can also call the free “number against premature baby grief” if necessary and talk to experienced parents of premature babies about your own worries and fears. This can be reached on 0800 875 877 0 and is handled by Federal Association “The Premature Child” provided.
It is often a good idea for mothers or fathers to take advantage of a treatment after the difficult initial period in order to replenish their energy reserves. Some facilities even offer special offers for parents of premature babies. The treatment is a mandatory health insurance benefit and can be prescribed by a doctor.
The birth of a premature baby represents a very special challenge for parents. And returning home is a moving moment and an important milestone. It gives hope that many other development milestones will also be achieved. It is important that parents are willing to accept help and also take care of themselves so that even difficult phases can be overcome well.
Parents of premature babies can also find many important information and tips about support options and financial help on the website Federal Association “The Premature Child” and on that Federal family portal.
(Image credit: Alexander Grey | Unsplash)
Are you the parent of a premature baby yourself? What are your experiences? Feel free to send us a comment!