Preparing for preterm baby’s hospital discharge


As your baby begins to mature you now
have begun to interact and take care of your baby more often. One of the major things that you are now
doing is beginning to participate in the feeding process of
your baby. So be it bottle feeding or breastfeeding you’ll be doing this more and more as your baby is
becoming more and more awake. The other thing that you are now beginning
to think about is discharge planning. You now have to learn, how to be able to take care of your baby and help your baby develop on discharge. As you begin to be feeding your baby
more and more this becomes an opportunity where you can start also
handling your baby and starting to do some developmental tasks. So for instance as your baby begins to
wake up you can allow him to begin to move around on his own therefore all the blankets
and rolls and headhuggers are out of the bed and so a good idea is to move your baby into
the middle of the bed so you can be face to face with each other. This will allow him to move randomly
and spontaneously therefore exercising and moving his muscles nicely
against gravity. It will also give you the opportunity that you may be able to begin to
achieve eye-to-eye contact. He will not be able to actually see you clearly for another few weeks but it’s the beginnings up that visual
contact. You may also have seen that the babies tend to
like to face to the right side. This is very common especially for those
babies who spend time in an NICU because most of the caregivers
are right handed, so they tend to set the babies up facing
to the right so that it’s easier to care for the babies. One easy way to help this
is to take a blanket, make a roll, and tuck it around the baby. Make sure
that the bump of the head goes on the middle of the roll, and tuck the arms of the blanket down
along the side of the baby. This will help him keep his head in the
middle, help us bring his hands to his face and his mouth, and he can now move freely in this sort of flexed midline position.
As your baby is waking up you may find he’s starting to get a little fussy, so you want to be able to try and calm him
down. One way is obviously giving him a
pacifier. The pacifier has been shown clearly to help calm the baby. The other
way is place your hands gently on his trunk and this will help calm his movements,
help him become a little bit more centered, and therefore you gain another chance
where you may be able to interact with your baby. The other thing that we need to begin to
do is help him strengthen his abdominal muscles and his shoulder
muscles, particularly his pec muscles. One way you can do this is gently put your
fingers on his upper chest and squeeze those fingers together. This will activate
the pectoralis muscles. For the abdominals, put your fingers on
his tummy, spread your fingers out and squeeze them gently together and that
will activate his tummy muscles. You’ll see his legs pull up into flexion and he’ll bend forward. Babies who are born premature are often very weak through the
abdominal muscles, and the shoulder or the pectoralis muscles. Again, squeeze his pecs
together and you’ll see the arms come together and the legs come up. This is our way to help make the baby do his abdominal
exercises and this will help strengthen these
muscles so that he will be able to begin to gain head control, abdominal
strength and this will help him develop and move forward in his gross motor skills. The butterfly pillow is often a device
that is used in the intensive care unit. It is a pillow shaped like a butterfly.
This will help your baby keep the head in the midline and bring the arms to the
middle. You can place the baby on the pillow, his head should be just below the
head of the butterfly. While in this position he’s very
nicely positioned and held in a beautifully flexed midline position and now he can move freely against
gravity and again, develop the strength of his abdominal and pectorals muscles. Since your baby now will be spending all
sleeping time on his back, it is now important when your baby is awake that he starts to spend some time on his
tummy. Tummy time is crucial. This is where the
strength of the abdominal muscles will be developed. So with each diaper change, gently turn
your baby over onto his tummy, flatten him out, try and straighten out
the legs but if he continues to tuck into flexion that’s ok. Allow him to try and squirm
around, move around. See if you can keep his elbows just under his shoulders. This will
allow him to push some weight down through his arms and he will start to
try and make an attempt to lift his head and try and turn from side to side.
Sometimes it does help to straighten out his legs and give a little pressure
down through the legs as that will take the weight off his face. Tummy time is
crucial. You must try and do it every time you change the diaper. You only need
to do it for one or two minutes and just the fact of seeing the baby move his head from side to side shows
you that you have been quite productive during this little period of exercise. Once you’ve done your tummy time, turn him back onto his back and now it’s probably time to begin to
feed. In order to pick your baby up nice, come in under the head, gently flex
the head up, centre the head, bring it into flexion, bend up the bum,
and pick him up gently and then from here, you can either bring him to the breast put him up on your shoulder, or appreciate your
beautiful baby.

20 thoughts on “Preparing for preterm baby’s hospital discharge

  1. thank you for this video… my baby is born 6 weeks earlier…now i'm trying to educate myself on proper caring of him when he's home… now he's 1month 4days in NICU…hope to take him home soon

  2. I hope my baby doesn’t come out unable to breath on her own. I just want to take her home right away. I’m scheduled to be induced on the 6th of November and she only weighs 4lbs 14oz. 4 more days and I don’t think she’s going to gain anything significant. I hope she’s at least 5lbs.

  3. i dilivered 31 weks… and my baby also in NICU its been 12 days already… 😢😢😢and i didnt hav a chance to hold him yet…ther are not allowing me… im just seing him in the window..

  4. I was born 2 months before my actual due date since me and my mom were sick. Luckily she had gestational (I think) diabetes so I was 5 pounds. I have a slight deformity in my knees and teeth.

  5. I'm having a premature baby born at 32 weeks ,shes just precious I'm blessed and thanking God for her life,thank you Lord

  6. My daughter Lilly was born premature. She was born at 33 weeks and 6 days. She was in baby unit for over a week, shes growing so well now bless her shes over 2 months old and gained a lot of weight.

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