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Preemie Care: What To Do When They Cry

Crying is a way for your baby to communicate their needs to you. It does not indicate that your parenting style has any fault - it just means that they are either bored, hungry, overstimulated, scared or need a diaper change. Babies may even cry for no apparent reason so it is important to remain calm and positive.

Premature babies are a little trickier. They are more likely to become fussy when compared to full-term babies and thus, we ought to be extra gentle around them. They spent a lot of time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and thus when you bring them back home, it would be a little difficult for them to adjust to the new surroundings.

For one, the house may seem too quiet in comparison and so, you may be required to play some soft music in the house. Also, in general, trying hard to keep the house quiet may be harmful as the child may get used to it and will not be able to fall asleep unless it’s completely quiet.

There are a few other things to keep in mind when soothing a preemie baby:

1. Keep calm and soothe your baby

Before you try to calm your baby down, you should calm yourself down. You may get stressed because your mom or nurse is more experienced with it and that you feel like you can never be that good. It is important to stay calm in those times and remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. When you are stressed or anxious, your baby will detect it and get upset.

2. Finding the root cause

When they start crying, check for the most obvious signs of what is causing them to cry - if they are wet, wipe them clean and dry them off. If they seem to be cold, wrap them up in warm clothes. If they seem hungry, feed them. If they appear sleepy or tired, put them to sleep. They could even cry just because they want your attention and affection, although this emotion takes time to develop in premature babies. They could otherwise just want to be left alone if you had in fact been with the baby for too long.

3. There is no such thing as fussy

One way to tackle the problem of excessive tears is to not call it fussiness. Just call it a sense of discomfort. They are feeling a bit unsettled because something in their own little realm of comfort has been ruptured and now they need you to fix it. There is no other way for newborn babies to communicate other than by crying out to you. So, stay calm and get your baby to settle down.

4. Their health can be reflected by the fussiness

Although studies say that premature babies are fussier than full-term babies, it is not fair to compare the two. Preemies, in fact, lag behind in terms of growth and development when compared to the full-term babies. Babies who are premature and medically fragile will take time to heal and will thus be more irritable or susceptible to pain.  

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