Premature babies arrive before they have fully developed in the womb. Certain factors such as early separation of the placenta from the womb, multiple pregnancies, diabetes, gestational diabetes, alcohol consumption, smoking, excessive stress during pregnancy, and a genetic abnormality of the baby can lead to the premature birth of the baby.
Did you know inadequate early postnatal nutrition tends to cause abnormal neurodevelopment? So, good nutrition and development can help the baby lead a healthy life. You will be shocked to know that lack of proper intake of nutrients can cause neuronal deficits and poor behavioural and cognitive health. Those babies who are premature are at risk of developing respiratory distress, acidosis, sepsis, etc. Moreover, they may need Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) where proteins, lipids, glucose, microelements, and vitamins are given via central lines.
Breast milk is the most important nutrient for a preterm baby. The mothers should pump their breasts every few hours to ensure a good milk supply. If the mother is unable to give enough expressed breast milk (EBM), babies are advised to pasteurize donor breast milk, mostly collected from mothers of healthy babies. In the absence of a mother’s own milk (MOM), donor milk will lower the serious effects that rise from NEC (a severe form of gut infection) and enhance cognition, bone mineral content, and cardiovascular health. EBM and donor milk can be supplemented with breast milk fortifiers to help with those extra calories, protein, minerals, and vitamins.
This is the need of the hour. Keeping a baby on the mother’s chest can help the baby in many ways. It is just like a kangaroo carrying her joey in her pouch. KMC helps in improving weight gain, reducing temperature fluctuations in the baby as well improving bonding between the mother and her baby.
Osteopenia can be termed as a metabolic bone disease of premature infants due to the lack of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. It can be prevented with early supplementation of vitamin D and optimizing calcium and phosphorus.
You will be shocked to know that preterm babies are prone to anaemia. Iron supplementation is essential for keeping anaemia at bay. Zinc and vitamin supplementation Is also essential for preterm babies for their overall growth and development. Do not give any supplements to the baby without the doctor’s advice.
Your baby’s brain is built gradually. You will be surprised to know that it tends to start right from pregnancy, and goes on till the baby’s early adulthood. Moreover, it will also require a strong foundation.
The brain consists of many areas that help to control everything right from hearing and walking to problem-solving and how one feels. Each area is known to have millions of brain cells or neurons. These neurons communicate with each other via passing chemical messages over tiny spaces that are known as synapses. As the messages are repeated every time, more links are made, and “neural pathways” are formed, which can be termed brain wiring. The baby’s brain wiring is active, changing, and developing in response to what’s going on all around them. Hence, certain activities such as playing, being read to, learning, interacting, and being responded to by people help develop your baby’s brain.
Furthermore, loving, consistent, positive relationships help build healthy brains and protect your baby’s brain from getting stressed or anxious. Stress can be seen due to marital conflict, poverty, abuse, neglect, being exposed to violence, or having a parent with an untreated mental illness. This stress is dangerous for the baby’s developing brain. It can invite physical, learning, and emotional problems in childhood, and these problems can carry on right into adulthood.
You can follow these essential tips for the baby’s development:
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