Taking Your Premature Baby Home


Rachel of tinylittlebaby

As a parent of a premature baby on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit the one thing you are desperately waiting to hear is the magical words ‘you can take your baby home’

From the moment your baby is born you are waiting to hear those magical words, however for a lot of parents those six words also bring a lot of fear and anxiety.

 Until this time your precious baby has been looked after 24/7 by a number of different types of doctors, nurses and many other heath practitioners. There will have been monitors and high-tech equipment that you have got used to and come to rely on for reassurance whilst on the unit, you will have grown used to this level of support and that there is always someone around for advice and support. So it is understandable that you will be worried and anxious as well as relieved and excited because at home you will be person caring for your baby, a very daunting thought.

The staff on  NICU would not  be letting you take your baby home if they did not think that your baby was well enough to leave NICU and that you were not capable of taking care of your baby.

Before leaving the hospital you will have been given training in how to perform basic resuscitation.  A lot of units have  rooms where you can stay overnight with your baby with the NICU nurses just next door, this can help give you the confidence you need to know that you can take care of your baby.

Once discharged from the unit you will still have a lot of support from health professionals, some of those involved will be your GP and health visitor, A lot of units have a specialist nurse who will visit you at home soon after being discharged to offer support and advice and your child will possibly have a pediatrician who will follow their progress.

If your baby was very premature, needed oxygen or was ventilated they may be at more risk of infection, some steps you can take to reduce risk of infection are:

  • Make sure everyone who comes into contact with your baby washes their hands.
  • Don\’t take your baby to crowded public places
  • Don\’t take your baby into large air-conditioned places like a shopping centre, supermarkets.
  • Ask people who have had a cold/ fever to refrain from visiting.

Taking your baby home from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit  for the first time is a very special experience and a very large milestone on your journey, take advantage of any help offered from family and friends, make sure to take time for yourself and enjoy being at home with your very special baby.

 For a baby record book designed for babies in NICU visit http://www.tinylittlebaby.co.uk

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/babies-articles/taking-your-premature-baby-home-2640271.html

About the Author

Mother of a premature baby and creator of STARTING LIFE IN NICU  a baby record book  designed for babies who start life in a neonatal intensive care unit http://www.tinylittlebaby.co.uk


What if it was your premature baby!

What if it was yours?

It always strikes me as disturbing how fierce arguments over the right time to let unborn babies live and the need to let premature babies die coincide at around 23 or 24 weeks.

Where termination is concerned, a 24-week old baby is considered too far developed to have its life snuffed out. At the same stage a premature baby is, apparently, too expensive to be allowed to live.

The BBC2 documentary 23 Weeks: The Price Of Life examined the arguments for leaving babies born at 23 weeks to pass away without resuscitation or medical intervention.

Behind the arguments effectively to bin life at its early stages is, of course, money.

The price of life is seemingly too high for the liking of some highly-paid NHS officials – like Dr Daphne Austin, for instance.

Doctor Austin, an adviser to local health trusts, says keeping early babies alive is only prolonging their agony.

Funds would be better spent on care for cancer sufferers or the disabled.

This concerning film did much to promote and support Dr Austin’s arguments – a bit of a worry in itself – which were anchored in cash.

She said the NHS was spending around £10m a year resuscitating babies born early and keeping them alive in incubators and on ventilators.

But despite round-the-clock care from teams of experienced doctors and nurses, just nine per cent left hospital – the rest died. And only one in 100 would grow up without some form of disability – the most common including blindness, deafness and cerebral palsy.

One in 100. Is that one baby worth the expense and effort required for a fight for life?

It most definitely is, if it’s your baby.

First published at 08:57, Saturday, 12 March 2011
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Anne Pickles

Premature babies battle for survival at ‘edge of life’

The NHS spends more than £10m a year on babies born at 23 weeks

Babies born prematurely in the 23rd week of pregnancy exist on the very edge of life. A few go on to become “miracle babies”, but most die. The figures are stark, only nine out of 100 will survive, and of that number most are disabled. Is it always right to keep them alive?

“I can’t really get my head round how they’ve managed to keep her alive.”

Lucy’s daughter Matilda was born four months early at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, weighing one pound one ounce.

Within 20 seconds of her birth, her tiny body was placed into a plastic bag to prevent her losing too much heat or moisture.

She was carefully transferred into an incubator and hooked up to tubes and gadgets. Cutting-edge technology has been keeping her alive for four weeks.

Had Matilda been born one week earlier at 22 weeks – she would usually have been considered a miscarriage.

One week later at 24 weeks, her chances of survival would be much higher.

Thanks to decades of improving medical science 23 weeks is now considered the “edge of viability”. It is one week less than the limit for abortion at 24 weeks. .. continue reading

By Adam Wishart

Documentary Maker, 23 Week Babies: The Price of Life

Premature Babies More Sensitive to Pain

We learned that one in five Britons suffers chronic pain (a figure probably skewed by full-time TV reviewers). One suggestion was that premature babies in neo-natal units endure so many pain-related procedures during intensive care that the development of pain’s neural pathways is altered. Among chronic sufferers was 16-year-old Rachel, who was born prematurely and, following an accident aged 12, now feels pain that shifts from head, to feet, to arms to legs without respite. “You just want to take the pain yourself,” said her mum. The poor love: of course she does.


Source:  Guardian.co.uk

Author: Stuart Jeffries

Brain development of premature babies


Image via Wikipedia

According to scientists measuring the development of a premature baby’s brain during the first few weeks of life can help determine whether or not a baby is likely to suffer mental and or physical development issues in the future.

Nearly half of all premature babies who survive being born before 30-week gestation go on to develop a mental or physical disability.  Gender also appears to play a significant role as baby born very premature were more likely to be affected than girls born at the same gestation.

While a foetus is in the womb the surface of their brain known medically as the cortex, should change in appearance from looking somewhat like a coffee bean to looking more like a walnut, however if a baby were born prematurely the above changes would take place outside of the womb.

The stress of premature birth combined with the stress of invasive medical care can greatly influence the brain development in premature babies resulting in a slower rate of brain growth.

By scanning and measuring the brain of premature babies, it may be possible to identify which babies are most likely to require development support later on.

Personalised Clothing for Babies in NICU

When your baby is born prematurely he or she will no doubt have to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit.  This can be a harrowing experience for both parents and family and where possible it is great for parents to be able to normalise things as much as possible, this includes parents being able to dress their preemie baby in comfortable and practical clothing.

No doubt you will have seen newborn babies with personalised clothing and thought wouldn’t it be lovely if my premature baby could wear some personalised clothing.

Now even preemie babies in the neonatal intensive care unit can wear personalised incubator safe clothing. Both the sleepsuit and bodysuit open out flat making it easier for parents and medical staff to undress and dress baby without unnecessarily disturbing baby The footless sleepsuit allows a pulse oximeter to be placed on baby’s foot without having to undress baby.

personalised preemie clothing

This unique premature baby gift set comes personalised with your baby’s name and will no doubt one day become a treasured keepsake of the time your baby spent in the NICU.

To see our entire range of premature baby clothes and accessories please visit Prem2Pram the on line premature baby store.

A Guide to the NICU

What is NICU?

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a specialist area designed to look after and treat premature and ill babies. The NICU is equipped to deal with premature babies. The NICU staff are specially trained to care and treat premature babies.

Premature babies are generally moved to the NICU once they are stabilised, they may be taken up in a Radiant Heater.

What to Expect in the NICU?

Once your baby has been taken up to the NICU, the staff will carry out tests and an examination. At the time parents and family are often not allowed in there, so the staff can carry out their work quickly and easily, this can take up to 90 minutes. You will be kept informed about what is happing to your baby and if any procedures are required they will discuss that will you.

While they are away from you the following tests and procedures will be taking place:

  • The NICU staff will examine their breathing and see how much oxygen they are getting. If they are having trouble breathing they may x-ray their chest to find the reason.
  • They will take blood samples to check glucose, calcium, and bilirubin levels.
  • They will start an Intravenous Line (IV) to ensure your baby has fluids constantly.
  • General newborn routines will take place including a vitamin K injection to ensure there are no bleeding problems.
  • Antibiotics will be administered to their eyes to prevent infection.

Once you get into the NICU your baby maybe attached to monitors do not be alarmed they are there to help your baby. There are a lot of machines in the NICU, read our guide to the NICU Equipment.

Who will be looking after my Baby?

There are a lot of people that will be looking after your premature baby and supporting you in the NICU:

Neonatal Nurse – They have been specially trained to look after ill and premature babies. You will see different nurses as they change shift. A Charge Nurse is the nurse in charge of the shift. A Primary Nurse will be assigned to your baby; you will see both your Primary Nurse and the Charge Nurse.

Neonatal nurse practitioners – These are registered nurses who have had extra training and an advanced education. They will also have years of experience in the NICU.

Neonatologist – This is a doctor that has had 3 years extra training and specialises in looking after newborn babies. You will see the Neonatologist every day.

Your baby may need to see a specialist; there are many different specialists. Some of them you may see are:

Paediatric Surgeon – Specialises in children’s surgery

Paediatric Cardiologist – Specialises in heart problems

Paediatric Cardiac surgeon – Specialises in heart surgery

Paediatric Pulmonologist – Specialise in the lungs

Paediatric Nephrologist – Specialise in the kidneys

Other staff you may meet can include:

Respiratory Therapists – This person will help set up and administer respiratory treatments

Developmental Specialists – They will work with both the NICU staff and the parents at home. They are specialists in infant development and will advise on how to improve feeding skills and how to move your baby.

Neonatal Nutritionists – They will ensure you baby has all the nutrients they need

Neonatal Pharmacist – They will help manage your baby’s medication

Social Worker – They will help you cope with the stress of having a premature baby and can give advice in a number of areas.

NICU Clark – The NICU Clerk sits near the entrance to NICU and monitors who comes in and out.

Questions to Ask the Neonatal staff

The staff of the NICU is there to help and advise you as well as looking after your baby, feel free to ask them any questions. Make a note as they come to you so you don’t forget.

Some questions you may want to ask are –

  • What is specifically wrong with my baby? Ask them to explain so you can understand what’s happening.
  • How will they be treated?
  • What is involved with their care?
  • How long will they be in the NICU for?
  • What medication do they have to take and when?
  • How is my baby being fed?
  • How long can I stay with my baby?
  • Will I be able to breastfeed my baby?
  • Will someone help me with breastfeeding?
  • Will I be able to bottle feed my baby?
  • What tests does my baby have to have?
  • What care will I have to administer when we go home?
  • Will I be given advice before I leave?
  • Will someone becoming to my home to help?
  • Can I hold my baby?
  • What can I do?

Bonding With Your Baby in the NICU

Bonding with your newborn baby is really important and especially so with a premature baby. Don’t be scared by all the machines and wires you can still bond with your child.

  • As a parent you are generally allowed in the NICU 24 hours a day, your presence and voice will help with the bonding.
  • If you are able to hold your baby, then try skin to skin with them. Place your baby under your top on to your skin. You may need to undo their sleepsuit if they are wearing one so your skin is touching. Keep them covered so they stay warm.
  • If it’s possible then try breastfeeding or express and bottle feed them.
  • If you cannot hold them in your arms, then you may be able to stroke them or hold their hand.

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