Premature babies need pretty much the same things that full-term babies need. They just tend to be smaller, and require a little more padding sometimes. And they need to be warmer. Preemies are born with very little subcutaneous fat. Add to this the fact that they often have difficulty keeping their temperature up! I don’t list any hats here among these “Best Preemie Products”, but don’t forget them! Babies in general lose a lot of heat from their heads, and this goes double for premature babies!
Best Preemie Products
Such a simple product, so much good! I’m still astonished by how quickly even the fussiest, most sensitive baby calms almost instantly when she’s swaddled. Swaddling (at least partially) reproduces conditions inside the uterus, where the baby feels most secure and warm. It’s not a difficult skill to learn. Done right, you can help your baby settle down to sleep in practically no time.
The key is to achieve a balance between snugness and constriction. Most new parents, fearing that the baby is too fragile, err on the side of keeping the swaddling too loose. This seldom works. With a little practice and good feedback from baby, you’ll gain confidence and swaddle like a pro in a few days.
There are dozens of videos on YouTube that teach good swaddling methods I like this one from Raeanne Brazee. Practice makes perfect.
Best Preemie Products: Sleep Sacks!
For sleep wear, there are two important things to keep in mind. The first is that preemie sizes are always too big… at first.
It’s just a fact of life and product sales that parents of preemies must deal with. Happily, the very little one grows into her clothes remarkably quickly. The second point is probably more important: Your baby doesn’t need to walk around in pajamas so why struggle to get her legs into pajama bottoms? One of the things I like most about the Carters One Pieces is the zipper. I’ll be forever astonished at the number of baby clothes with as many as 15 snaps. Speaking as a Dad, I protest: there is no way to do up all those snaps correctly! Same goes for buttons, only more so.
Best Preemie Products: Hug Me Joey Car Seat Insert
The hug me Joey is just the insert that goes in your existing car seat. It is a wedge and a bumper.Why is this important? Existing car seats must sit the baby more or less upright. But the best, safest position for a premature baby is laying on her back on a flat surface! The wedge and padding provides a compromise. It is to be used only when the baby is in the car. It’s not a good idea to leave a preemie in the seat and bring her inside, as tempting as that might be, especially if she falls asleep. For her safety, and to help prevent “flat head“, the car seat and Joey wedge should only be used when you take baby for a ride.
Another oddity about the Joey wedge I’ve observed is that parents of preemies get so used to using them that they continue to place the wedge in the car seat long after the baby is too big for it! Here’s a good index: when the baby gets to full-term, corrected gestational age, you can put the wedge away (or lend it to a friend!)
Need a SLEEP COACH?
Best Preemie Gear: Dr. Brown’s Bottles and Nipples
Premature babies have particular feeding issues that full-term babies do not. If your preemie is not able to latch onto your own nipples at first, Dr. Brown is here to the rescue!
They often have difficulty coordinating sucking and swallowing. They also have smaller mouths and stomachs (obviously!) so they often cannot handle the rate of flow that comes out of “regular” nipples.
Eating consumes a lot of energy for a little baby, as paradoxical as that sounds. The smaller the preemie, the more energy relatively they spend trying to eat! Feeding and growing is her #1 job of the preemie. Anything we can do to help her grow without taxing her system too much in the process, is a good thing. The “ultra preemie” nipple is smaller yet. The rate of flow is only 35% that of the original Dr. Brown’s preemie nipples. The “younger” preemies need to rest a lot and breathe more often. This nipple helps the baby avoid becoming exhausted during feeding.