Hints for a New Preemie Parent....

Are you part of the NICU club? Do you have a child who is still struggling with the effects of being born too soon from preeclampsia? Share your concerns and stories here among parents who have been there.
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Re : Hints for a New Preemie Parent....

Postby jjohnston » Sun Oct 08, 637662 5:43 am

Take your pain meds if you need them! I tried to get off the pain meds too soon, thinking it would help the baby stay awake better, but my bp spiked from the pain... Then i had to worry about the effects of the bp meds on the baby.. All that said, I suggest you go ahead and take the pain meds. If it takes the baby a couple more days to come home because they're a little sleepy for feedings, oh well.. they need their rest right now too. The NICU nurses told me Lortab in the breastmilk is a lot safer for them than Lebetalol or other bp meds.

Next, don't pump all night! It is okay to give yourself at least one four-hour break without pumping during the night, just to catch up on your rest. It might feel like you're going to pop that first night, but your body will adjust to the night schedule quickly and you'll be surprised how good that extra hour of sleep feels!!

One more tip.. I wish someone had told me this sooner.. while my son was in the NICU, i tried to avoid pumping for a few hours before our time together so my breasts would be really full for him.. i didn't realize they can be TOO full and actually prevent the baby (especially a preemie) from latching on. I finally found out that he would latch on better if I manually expressed a little first to soften things up (washcloths come in handy!) This made all the difference for us and he actually came home just a few days later.

Good luck!

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Re : Hints for a New Preemie Parent....

Postby browncow » Fri Aug 20, 637655 5:00 pm

This website was a lifesaver in the months following my daughter's birth.

My parents are deceased, friends and coworkers quit coming around because they didn't know what to say or do, and my now ex-husband sought solace in every bottle of Vodka in the Tampa Bay area. I was alone and lonely and didn't (and don't) want pity, I just wanted someone to understand, acknowledge what I was going through.

And I found all that (and more) on this website.

The stories of those who've walked in my shoes proved that the trials and tribulations of preemiedom weren't insurmountable. Often I concluded my reading with, "hey, I've had that problem/been there, done that; someone else finally gets it!"

Share this website with your family, friends, and coworkers so they may gain a better understanding of preemiedom/what parents go through/how to just be of comfort/compassion.

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Re : Hints for a New Preemie Parent....

Postby hoya » Mon Jan 10, 637650 5:12 am

preemie.com had some good preemie clothes for the early days.

I agree with a lot of the above. For example, we called the nurse every night before going to bed and first thing in the morning to check on DD and, if we missed the nightly "weigh-in" get her exact weight, which I recorded in a daily journal. I also agree with 2 visits a day, instead of one full-day visit.

If you're planning on breastfeeding / bottle feeding breastmilk, I highly recommend renting a hospital-grade pump from a local pharmacy while your baby is in the NICU. The NICU where my daughter spent 5 weeks had a few lactation rooms with pumps, which was great, but the hospital-grade pump was invaluable for home pumping, which I did every 2-3 hours around the clock, even setting my alarm to get up in the night.

Don't be afraid to ask for supplies from the hospital.... our NICU provided (if asked) breastmilk storage containers, and gave us upon discharge a whole bunch of diapers, a thermometer, a few burp cloths, a few bottle nipples, a nose suctioner, etc. It was a nice start.

If your hospital offers it, I recommend taking an infant CPR class before your baby is discharged.

Oh, also, I recommend making your baby's isolette as personalized as possible. We taped a special prayer card to the side of her isolette, which we recited to her every night before we left. We also had a couple of pictures for her to see, and I sang to her softly everyday. Mind you, I flipped out when they switched her from an isolette to an open bassinet on the overnight shift and didn't keep the prayer card (after many tears, the nurse was able to track it down for me in the sub-basement).

In your journal, keep a record of some of your favorite nurses' names and your baby's doctors. It's so easy to forget later on, but when they have the NICU reunions, you'll want to remember.

It's a scary experience, but boy it goes by quickly. Reading the above posts has brought back a wave of emotions!

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Re : Hints for a New Preemie Parent....

Postby igloochic » Sun Jan 09, 637650 12:49 am

I have a NICU nursing student (her last year is 2006) who comes in a few times a week to allow me four hours of sleep in a row. Ask your NICU nurses if they know anyone trying to earn a few bucks. For a very small cost (I pay $10 per hour) you can have the best qualified babysitter around and get some real sleep, or a break when you need it.

I have NO WORRIES when I am away from my DS to sleep or even to go out when I have to for business reasons. I know that while he's a challenge for me, he's easy compared to some of the other NICU babies she deals with so I feel complete trust in her ability to deal with anything that comes up (which is normally his food) [xx(]

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Re : Hints for a New Preemie Parent....

Postby browncow » Wed Dec 29, 637649 7:02 am

Music is a great soother for babies and moms.

Connor was quite fiesty in utero (I called her "Mini Mia" because her kicks rivaled those of Mia Hamm) and the only things that would calm her down were the sounds of Marvin Gaye, Moby, and (don't laugh) George Michael.

Likewise, I played music for her post-partum and the recognition factor was amazing, at three months old she'd hear Marvin Gaye, perk up her ears, assume a look of intense concentration, and suddenly grin. She's now four years old and loves Marvin Gaye/knows all the songs on the Greatest Hits cd.

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Re : Hints for a New Preemie Parent....

Postby thw75 » Wed Nov 18, 637361 11:44 pm

I had a 27 week, 2lb baby girl and we were in a level 3 NICU for 10 weeks. My advice:
1- Speak up. If you spend a lot of time in the NICU, you know as much or more about your child's health than the staff. Be assertive in advocating for your baby. Understand what is happening, ask questions, don't be shy. You are your child's best advocate.
2- Don't try to update everyone. Designate someone to do a website or email, or be a phone contact and tell that person the news -- let them spread the word. Don't be afraid to tell friends and family you don't want to talk/visit/etc.
3 - Talk. Talk to other parents, get support. You are not alone, tho it can feel that way. Don't try to make people understand what you're going thru -- it is beyond the realm of most people's understanding. Accept this and take care of yourself.

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Re : Hints for a New Preemie Parent....

Postby whosures » Sat Aug 29, 637361 8:55 am

Our biggest lifesaver was our family website. Every night when I'd leave the NICU, I'd update the website (my husband is an IT guy so this was easy but if not, there are lots of ready made sites you can sign up for). We added pictures and weight charts and links to medical information. Not only was it great for us because it cut down on the number of phone calls we'd make/receive, but everyone LOVED visiting it. Even Riley's nurses and doctors followed it when we went home. And now, we have a great reminder of our experience.
I think www.aboutmybaby.com is one site that people I know have used.

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Re : Hints for a New Preemie Parent....

Postby cara » Mon Dec 02, 637348 6:27 am

I found bringing Grant's receiving blankets from home added a little something to his isolette. The nurses were more than happy to use them and they put them in a bag for us at the end of the day when they needed to be washed. The good thing about that was we could take home the blankets with his scent and sleep with them. It somewhat helped when I had to pump at home but it really helped when I couldn't fall asleep.

We also bought him little shirts to wear and he even had a little LSU hat! (check out his website for that one!)

A journal is a great idea...also, I would bring his baby book up there and jot down those things...do it before they get mobile!!! I haven't written down his first step yet and he's been walking for 3 months now!

Cara L. Stevens
DS - Grant 3/28/04
33 weeks PIH/Pre-e

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Re : Hints for a New Preemie Parent....

Postby fiona » Thu Oct 02, 637338 12:35 am

When Jay was in the NICU a nurse came up to me one day and told me to go away for an hour , so she could go through all the routines - nappy changing, bathing, holding - that are so scary to do with a preemie, with my dh. She said that otherwise I would become really confident and he would tend to step back. It was a great tip - my dh was constantly invoved from that moment on and having two pairs of hands at the ready made the transition from hospital to home so much easier .

dh Tom
ds Nate 12/8/97 - 14/8/97 26 weeks severe pre-e IUGR 1lb
ds Jay 4/11/98 30 weeks pre-e 3lbs 11 oz
no 3 due 15/6/05

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Re : Hints for a New Preemie Parent....

Postby christine lyn » Wed Oct 01, 637338 1:15 pm

Take one of your babies diaper's, pacifiers, blood pressure cuff, first baby bottle, first hat and blanket and anything else you can take. I took all of these for my babies keepsake box. They will love it in the years to come as I will also. It really shows how small they really were. My son was born at 1lb. 9.2oz. so the things were small.

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