All babies are precious, and this is never more evident if you see preterm babies. They are so tiny, yet so strong in many cases, and they will always steal your heart away. If you have a premature baby, you may feel overwhelmed and stressed out, but remember to take some time to marvel in your baby. Accept congratulations without the buts floating around in your mind, and try to enjoy the early months of your baby’s life. Things are not as you thought they would be, so adjust if you can so your memories are not all sad and stressful.
It can be easy to look at your preterm babies or baby and think about all of the medical problems they may be having. When you first see them, you may see a lot of wires, tubes, and medical monitors hooked up to their tiny bodies. This can be hard to see. If you step into a NICU and see many preterm babies like this, you may get totally overwhelmed. See if you can get some privacy with just your baby so you can adjust. After just a few visits you are going to stop seeing the wires and tubes. You will just see your precious baby. It will get easier.
Preterm babies have special needs, and you may feel helpless. Don’t feel that way. Do what you have to do to feel that you are caring for your baby, even when the nurses and doctors must do most of the care. If you can, change the tiny diaper or help with the tube feeding. Bring in clothes made for premature babies so when your baby can wear them, they have something from home to wear. Bring in receiving blankets for your baby, and don’t forget that preterm babies need hats to stay warm.
Ask a lot of questions about what you see going on and what is going on with your baby. Nurses will keep details of what is going on with other preterm babies private, but you can ask general questions or questions specific to your child. If you want to know what a number on a monitor means – ask. If you wonder why your baby is having a procedure, find out why. The more you learn about what is going on, the better you are going to feel. You will feel a little more in control and you won’t be as scared when an alarm goes off or a number changes drastically.
Some parents neglect to take pictures of their preterm babies, thinking that they do not want to remember them this way. While this is always a personal choice, take it from someone who has spent nearly three months in the company of her own preterm baby – you will want to remember. It can be painful, but these are the first months of your baby’s life. The background and the tubes may not seem like good fodder for photographs, but your baby is still there. Hopefully, your preterm babies or baby will grow to be healthy and strong, and you’ll look back at those photos with a tear and smile, knowing you have witnessed a miracle.