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Preemie Health

What Is A Preemie
Behavioral Problems
Bonding With Your Preemie
Books To Read
Breastfeeding Your Preemie
Care During The Winter Months
Clothing For Preemies
Comforting Your Preemie
Dads Are Important Too!
Effects of Prematurity
Emotions and Feelings
Equipment In The NICU
Feeding Your Preemie
Health Concerns
Learning Difficulties
Neonatal ICU Complications
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Preemie Proofing
Preemies and Reflux
Preemies and Their Weight
Premature Statistics
Questions To Ask The Pediatrician
Siblings and Preemies
Speech Impairments
Support Groups and Premature Resources
Taking Your Preemie Home
Why Premature Births Happen

Preemie Milestones

Milestone Guide
Emotional Milestones
1 to 3 Months
4 to 6 Months
7 to 9 Months
1 Year Old
Social Skills of A Three Year Old Preemie

Preemie Complications
Apnea and Bradycardia
Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia
Intraventricular Hemorrhage
Necrotizing Enterocolitis
Respiratory Syncytial Virus
Retinopathy of Prematurity
Child Development
Language Skills
Separation Anxiety
Baby Routines
Infant Reflexes

Precious Preemie Project

Preemie Stories

Premature Baby Quotes

New Mom Tips

Children's Education
Children's Health
Children and Medical Terminology

Bonding With Your Preemie

The Initial Fears

After the birth of a preemie, many parents feel isolated and uncertain about their emotions and physical state of mind. They feel as though it was their fault. Stress and disengagement may play a role in how they feel. They envisioned a healthy, strong, and vibrant baby. A baby without feeding tubes or ventilators. A baby that would be able to leave the hospital within days of delivery. All these feelings can become overwhelming, frightening and upsetting. To come to terms with these feelings both parents should take the time and bond with their baby. Each parent can bond with their baby in their own special way.

Bonding Without Realizing It

While you were expecting your baby, you bonded in many ways. Mothers are the people that new babies know best in the world. Your baby knows your smell, your voice, and your mood swings. He heard you laugh, sing, and cry. He felt you dancing. He felt the intensity of your happiness or sadness. He knew your routine. He may have known the voice of his father, a partner, siblings, or someone else that was close to you.

You felt your baby moving within you. You might have known when he had the hiccups or felt his elbow in your womb. You could feel him turning over. You might have known where his head was or the times his tiny feet pressed against you. All these things were part of an initial bond you had before your baby was born. That is why it is very important to continue to bond with your baby even though he was born into this world sooner than expected.

The Importance of Bonding

The natural instinct to hold your newborn is not uncommon, it is that physical bond that you have been waiting for for nine months. Physically touching and soothing your baby will have a positive effect on his health and well-being. It is your voice, the mother, that has more power to comfort and reassure him than anyone else's.

Types of physical bonding may include:

  • Containment: You cup your hand around your baby's head, without quite touching it. Leave your hand in position, and imagine warmth and energy flowing from your hand into his head. It gives your preemie a sense of being safely held in a limited space, as they were in the uterus.
  • Still touch: Resting your motionless hand. This can promote a sense of calm and helps settle premature babies.
  • Placing your index finger gently in their hand: Some researchers have suggested that this is a baby's first comforter, and that even when he is still in the peace of the uterus, it helps him feel more secure. Holding your finger may bring that feeling back.
  • Kangaroo Care: Your baby will be placed in an upright position on your bare chest allowing tummy to tummy contact, wearing only a diaper. Blankets will then be placed over you and the baby. This skin to skin contact not only facilitates bonding, but it can also help your baby thrive.

Comforting Bonding:

  • Speak softly: Talking with your baby gently and quietly is a very natural thing for any parent.
  • "Think" calm, love and energy into him.
  • Massage: Many Neonatal Intensive Care Units encourage mothers and fathers to massage their premature babies if the infants can cope with it and are medically stable.
  • Help change his diaper: Ask if you can help with changing your baby's diaper.
  • Use your eyes: Let your baby see your face about 8-10 inches away. Smile or just look at him calmly and "speak" with your eyes.
  • Stimulate with music: Calmly recite nursery rhymes, poetry or anything you feel comfortable saying to him. If you sung for him during your pregnancy, hum a familiar tune or sing it softly.
  • Finger and thumb sucking: If possible, gently brings his own fingers and thumbs to his mouth. Finger and thumb sucking is a really important part of his learning to comfort and calm himself.

You're concentrating on your baby now, but remember that you have special needs, too. Taking good care of yourself will help you take the best care of your preemie.

It is very important to relax and find your level of contentment. Your newborn preemie will need you more than ever at this difficult time in his and your life. Comforting him in any way will create a strong bond that can help ease the initial fears and anxieties you both have.

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