New mom to a preemie girl

  • My girl was born 6 weeks early on Aug 20th. 3 1/2 lbs.  I'm new to this mom thing and since she is growing like a weed and doing beyond expectations of the doctors and nurses, so I'm sure I'm doing what's right. She's was over 7lbs at her last weigh check a couple weeks ago. Though I still feel like I'm not doing good enough especially since she wouldn't breast feed no matter what we tried. Didn't help I was under so much stress that my milk production eventually came to a halt. Doesn't help that I'm living so far away from family and friends (I'm in Co and they are in other states).  I love my little princess and she has brought so much joy into my life.  I just want to do right by her.  I really just don't know what I'm doing and how preemie life is different from full term babies as far as how to progress on the timeline for babies and their development.  Any thoughts or been there stories are appreciated since the books have very little info on preemie life.

  • I am also a new mom to a premie. My baby girl was born 10 weeks early and was 3lb 6oz when born. She is now 7 months old and is doing very well. She is still behind in a few developmental milestones but for the most part she is a normal baby girl. We have PT once a month and I also do the excerses they do with her at home. As far as I can tell from friends that had full term babies, there is not much different in raising a premie to a full term baby. The only thing that I have noticed is she has hit certain milestones a little later. Like, she rolled over for the first time at 6 1/2 months of age. She doesnt sit up on her own yet but we are working on it. My advice on raising a premie is treat your baby like a full term baby but more at her adjusted age. We started cereal when she was 5 months old and she did great at it, we are now on veggies and fruits. Take one day at a time and enjoy every moment with your baby girl. I was able to breastfeed her till she was a little past 6 months old, I pumped since my baby didnt latch on very well and I didnt like not knowing how she was getting, plus I got so use to pumping while she was in the hospital it just came easier for me. I hope my experience will help you and give you some comfort in raising a premie, as long as she is gaining weight and meeting her milestones at her own pace you are doing enough for your baby (that is what my docs have always told me).

  • Congratulations on your baby and it sounds like you are doing a great job. Strong Moms is a great resource for moms who don't have family close. Beyond listening to your doctor, keep seeking information and making contact with others locally. Maybe your doc can put you in contact with a support group for new moms or more specific to preemie parents? Just a thought that might help if you are feeling isolated. Good luck!

     

  • I agree that it sounds like you are doing a terrific job.  I know it must have been hard to have her early, but it sounds like everything is going great for her. :)  Brings a smile to my face!!  I think that our site is a great resource and i'm so glad to see that others have reached out to you already.  Please post any questions that you have, or even if you just need some support.  Always glad to help!

    -Jess

  • Congrats on your little girl! She is so cute! I'd echo the other moms and encourage you to just work on talking to her, holding her, and interacting with her like you would a regular baby. Change your expectations to her adjusted age and just go from there! Is there any chance you can pump your milk? A lot of mothers just pump their milk and give it to their preemies. It is really hard to get them to breastfeed sometimes since they start out with a poor suck reflex. If your milk supply is gone at this point, just know that you are not alone and many mothers find themselves in your shoes when their babies come early. Don't feel guilty or worry about that. You are doing a great job and just the fact that you want the best for your daughter speaks volumes about what a wonderful mother you are. :-) 

  • My daughter was born 3 months early.  She was born Sept 30th,2012 at 8:31am. She weighed 1 pound 9 ounces and 12 1/2 inches long. She is currently still in the hospital. I have some of the same feelings as you. Hopefully i gain knowledge before she comes home. I only want whats best for her and i dont want to harm her because im not educated. Im angry sometimes because i didnt have a full pregnancy.I have so many different emotions. I fully understand and relate to you.

  • I wish you all the best angie for your little one. I felt the same way about not getting a full pregnancy. I was so sick while I was pregnant with her. I had bronchitis 3 times and morning sickness the whole time.  I felt like her birth weight and prematurity was my fault cause I couldn't eat and couldn't keep it down. Smells would make me vomit even.  I was told the reason she came early though. Her cord had gotten wrapped around her foot which was scary and made me try very hard to deliver her as soon as I could (30 minute delivery after contractions started).  She is a blessing though and I found out a couple days ago that she has gained 2 lbs in the last month as well as 3 inches in length. I'm very proud of my girl. I just let her take charge of when she eats and if it's been longer than 4-5 hrs I give her a bottle(tho that is a rare occasion). She has just started smiling in the last few days and it has been the most beautiful thing Ive ever seen. I was told that girls do better with prematurity than boys do. Just be there for her as much as possible and don't hesitate to ask the nurses any questions even if you think they are stupid.  The only stupid question is the one not asked.

  • Another preemie mom here.  My son was born 7 weeks early on September 10, 2012 after my water broke.  When he was 1 week old, he developed sepsis and IVH (intraventricular hemorrhage, bleeding in the brain ventricles).  Too soon to tell what, if any, complications he may have from the IVH.  He had trouble gaining weight in the NICU which has continued now that we're home.  As others touched upon, preemies use their "adjusted age" until age 2.  Adjusted age is how old your baby would be if they had been born on their due date. 

    It's hard having a preemie.  People don't understand you have to limit exposure to germs due to a weakened immune system.  Extra doctor appointments to attend, some with specialists.  Worrying every time the pediatrician asks if your baby is doing something and your answer is no.  Trying to enjoy your baby while not knowing what complications of the premature birth may show up later. 

    Not to mention the feeling we were cheated out of a full-term pregnancy and anger at pregnant women (especially those further in their pregnancies that we made it) complaining about being pregnant and wishing for an early delivery.  I  can only wish I had been able to experience the aches and pains of pregnancy longer so my son wasn't suffering complications of prematurity. 

    There are no preemie/NICU support groups in my area so I have found the support of other preemie moms online to be essential.  No one else understands how overwhelming it is dealing with all the appointments, specialists, services, etc.  Or the emotions you feel, both in the NICU and after you come home. 

  • Wow Skimmers, you have been and are going through a lot.  I'm sorry to hear that you've had to go through so much pain and worry.  It sounds like you are really well educated about what has gone on and what can happen with your premature baby due to his prematurity.  It's just to hard, and I hate it that there isn't a suppor group in your area as I think that would be really helpful.  I'm so glad that you were able to share here and i want to encourage you to return here anytime that you need to vent, talk or have a question.  I so appreciate your sharing your story here with others.

    Hang in there,

    Take care,

    Jess

  • Yea my cousin has been driving me insane complaining about the aches and general end of pregnancy stuff(via facebook). She is at 30 weeks with a boy. It's one thing to be excited for the due date to come but to wish for the baby to come sooner is just selfish.  Needless to say, I've pretty much blocked most of her posts from coming through.  Hard to see things like that when I didn't get to experience them and the worries of what comes with prematurity.  But then again, people are pretty clueless about things they have never experienced and at times a bit cruel to those of us that have.

  • NonaGrrl, I also hate it when pregnant women complain about still being pregnant.  Even worse when they want an early delivery, one acquaintance stated "Any time after 36 weeks is fine by me!"  They don't realize how lucky they are to carry to term, which any preemie mom would give anything to have been able to do.  Or the complications that come with an early delivery, even a late preterm delivery.  Babies need that full 39 weeks, preferably 40, for the lungs and everything to fully develop.  The one who made the 36 weeks comment did deliver in the 36th week.  She developed an infection, had an emergency C-section, and baby had to stay in the hospital for 10 days of antibiotics due to the infection.  Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.  And she never made the connection that she got her desire for an early delivery, but you don't deliver that early without complications.  Not to mention the constant worry that other prematurity complications will show up later as our babies grow up.

  • Hi-Newbie here and also new mom to premie twins who were born at 29.5 weeks, they spent 11 weeks in the NICU unit. They are doing great!  Sounds like you are a wonderful caring mom who is already doing the best you can.  Just keep with it.   Love your baby and play with your baby as much as you can.  Developmenatly, she will catch up.  The best thing you can do it love your baby and find a really good pediatrican who is comfortable and knowlegeable with premies.  We love our pediatricain and she is so helpful with my premie questions!  As long as your premie is gaining weight that is the best thing!  Best of luck to you and hang in there.