“I may be tiny but my heart is immeasurable” Julia Toivonen
With 1 in 8 babies born early (before 37 weeks), World Preemie Day is significant for a rising number of families. For some – the experience is real to them today, and for others it is a reminder of a pocket of time in their lives which inevitably changed them forever. We all dream of welcoming a healthy, full term baby into the world and experiencing the joy, wonder and awe of this new little person. When this day arrives too early so many emotions can come to the surface. Feelings of shock, worry, helplessness and guilt can cloud the joy that should accompany the birth of your baby. Seeing this very tiny little being hooked up to tubes and machines can be overwhelming and leave us feeling helpless and unprepared.
In this very stressful time, there are many people who offer encouragement and support in many different ways. It is a good idea to accept their support and be specific when asking for help. It takes a village to get a family through a premature birth. There is an extremely helpful book written for parents (but based on current research) that can help answer many of your questions and detail the host of proactive, helpful and very rewarding steps you can take to allow your baby to flourish. Hold your Prem written by Jill Bergman is available on their website (www.ninobirth.org/products/) One of areas covered in this book is “Skin-to-skin” care of your preemie. Holding your baby chest to chest with their skin on yours allows her to stabilize physiologically better than the most high tech incubator. While her heart rate, temperature and breathing stabilize, so too will your feelings of helplessness and stress diminish.
As a parent you will worry about the long term effects that your baby’s birth may have, but remember to take some time to rejoice and marvel at the mini milestones and progress your little miracle is making. As they grow and develop have fun playing while you encourage them to move from one developmental stage to the next! Be inspired with many easy to do activities that you can do at home with our book Groovy Adventurers, available on our website:
“The delicate air inside neonatal and special care nurseries has filled the lungs of millions of parents around the world and changed their lives forever” Julia Toivonen