Kangaroo care, also known as skin to skin care, is an amazing way for a mother (and/or) Father to bond with their premature child. Most full term babies are encouraged to have skin to skin contact for reasons such as Calming, easier breastfeeding, and even attachment. But for a tiny Preemie, this care is so much more than that. Kangaroo care is a way to regulate heart rate, temperature, and even oxygen levels, as they are close to a very familiar body and smell. It also is an amazing way to bond. Having a child early, means your body, mind and hormones aren’t exactly “ready”for birth, yet they’re pushed to do so anyway. Having that skin to skin with your child helps release those hormones that stimulate breast milk supply, calm your body as well as your baby, and increase the sense of “Normalcy” that all of us preemie parents strive for. Babies as early as days old are usually allowed to have this care, and many NICU’s are equipped to allow babies on Vents, CPAP, oxygen and feeding tubes to enjoy this with their parents. As your baby is stabilized and calm, it increases the depth of sleep, which for a premature baby is CRUCIAL (our nurses used to tell us how if our preemie was sleeping she was growing!).
I’m not sure if ALL preemie moms get the chance to Kangaroo with their little ones, but it is an amazing feeling to hold your tiny child. To feel your baby’s skin, hands, feet and be able to see little movements is enough to send your love through the roof. I as a preemie mom recommend it for any and all parents (both mothers and fathers), but especially for premature parents (with the permission of your NICU nurse/neonatologist of course). I would love to hear other moms’ experiences with this, and how it affected your relationship with your baby (or babies).
My daughter, Annika’s very first Kangaroo at 5 days old
Through my journey of being a Preemie mother, I have met some amazing men and women who are the proud parents of Preemie angels. These tiny children are born into the arms of loving parents, but are needed in a higher place than here on earth. Some may live for hours, others days or even weeks. I give all my adoration tothose who have loved and lost, and those who carry the wings of their angels on their hearts forever. Know that you are not alone, and there is much support for parents as well as siblings.
Vaccinations are a highly controversial topic for any parent, but what about for a Preemie parent? Here you have a baby of smaller than normal size, and you're placing small amounts of illnesses into their bodies. I have allowed both my children, (one full term, one Premature) to be fully vaccinated until this past week. Our Pediatrician brought up the topic of the "Flu" vaccine, and I denied it
(against her judgement). Is it really beneficial for my tiny baby girl to be injected with this virus? I feel as though as a Parent I should be confident in my decisions I make for my children, and yet something inside me is uneasy. I never gave a second thought when our Neonatologist suggested Synagis (a highly potent RSV vaccine given during cold/flu season). And yet for a common flu vaccine I am double guessing myself. When is excess washing of hands, and extra Vitamin C not enough?
I would love to hear comments on either side of this discussion.
My name is Vanessa, and I am the proud mother of two beautiful children. My son, Aiden was born at a full term 38 weeks, and with an easy pregnancy as well as delivery. So when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was excited. After four long months of morning sickness, and twenty pounds shed, I thought I had passed the “hard” part of my pregnancy. But boy was I wrong!
At just 20 weeks along, I was diagnosed with Pregnancy induced hypertension, and was put on not one but two blood pressure medications, to lower my rollercoaster blood pressure. With a four year old at home, Bed rest was not really an option, so I continued my everyday lifestyle as a working mother. But at 22.3 weeks, I was rushed to Cape Cod Hospital where my diagnoses had changed to Preeclampsia. From there I was headed to Boston where they have a NICU.
I had zero time to pack, make arrangements for my son, or even call my job before they had me in an Ambulance and headed for the city. I was admitted to Brigham & Women’s where I spent 3.5 weeks attached to monitors, IV’s, and given multiple medications in the attempt to hold of the delivery of my little girl. But at just 26 weeks, the doctors couldn’t hold off any longer, and I was scheduled for an emergency
C-section. My daughter Annika, weighed 1 pound 4 ounces, and was 12.2 inches long. I barely had sight of her before they rushed her off to the NICU, and I was sent to recovery, alone.
I remained on the post-partum floor where the sound of happy mothers and crying babies was agonizing. It took three full days before I was able to see my baby, and the sight of her was an emotional waft that cannot be put into words.
There lay this tiny little person who I had carried for 6 months, and yet I didn’t know her. She was hooked
to IV’s, monitors and a CPAP machine helping her breath. She was inside an Isolette, and was under UV lights to help her skin. Her skin was red and wrinkled, and her hands the size of bottle caps. I had heard of mothers who had babies like this, but never in a million years imagined that I would be one of them. She remained in the NICU for 78 days before being discharged home, just after Christmas.
The experience of being a “Preemie” mom has changed me, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. Living here on Cape Cod is a blessing, with the ocean so close, the tightness of our communities, and the child friendly atmosphere we all want to raise our children in. However, it can also be very isolated, especially during a stay in a Boston NICU. I have created a Facebook group called “Preemie Mamas on Cape Cod”, where moms of Premature babies of all ages and gender can group together as a “family”. We share advice,
Photos, experiences and are planning a few play dates throughout the year. Please join us, and know that it is hard being a Preemie parent, but you’re NOT alone. http://www.facebook.com/groups/365948863437350/
Vanessa is the latest Cape Cod Mom to join our blogging team! She will be posting blogs on all things preemie on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month! Join us in following her journey!
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