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How to Help Preemies Develop Well

How can I parent my preemie?

There are many things that you can do to help your baby progress in each of the five areas of development described under Understanding Preemie Development:

  • Learn to read your baby's behaviors - You will come to know when your baby is stressed and needs some rest time, and when he or she is relaxed, can be handled, and is ready to respond to you.
  • Learn how to interact with your baby - What are the things he or she likes, doesn't like; what are the best times during the day; how long at a time does he/she have the strength to respond to you?
Make the environment as comfortable for the baby as you can:
  • keep light and noise levels moderate.
  • keep the baby's position flexed.
  • allow undisturbed periods of sleep.
  • provide opportunities to interact when he/she is awake.

Accept that each baby is different and may be a challenge to understand, and that progress will take time.

Give yourself permission to feel disappointed, helpless, or incompetent when you can't figure out what the baby wants or needs; your baby may not know, either. Feel happy and proud when you can read your baby. The important thing is that you are trying to understand what your baby is telling you.

Trust your instincts - You have known you baby longer than anyone.