While you might be very careful with your fragile-looking premature baby, it has been proven that daily bonding and touching will significantly help him grow faster and stronger. In honor of Prematurity Awareness Month, we share this article on how to bond with your preemie.
Handling your preemie may seem like balancing crystal on your fingertip. But no matter how frail he may be, bonding with your bundle of joy is not impossible. In fact, it may be the best catalyst of growth for your fragile baby.
“Mothers can bond with their babies by holding them, touching them or even talking to them. The incubator will not be a hindrance to start the bonding moments. You will be surprised that most infants recover faster when parents, specifically mothers, visit them on a regular basis,” says pediatrician Dr. Cita Caparas-de Castro. Your emotions are conveyed through touch, so positive feelings are likely to have a healing effect on your delicate preemie.
Breastfeeding promotes bonding if your premature baby can tolerate nipple-feeding, according to pediatric intensivist Dr. John Ong. In the book, What To Expect The First Year by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff and Sandee Hathaway, B.S.N., a study cited that low birth weight babies showedthey were comfortably warmer being breastfed than bottle-fed. Their bodies just responded better to breastfeeding. If mommy's milk has to be given through a tube, hold your infant's hand, move him close enough to your chest to feel your warmth, and make eye contact. Nothing is more soothing to your baby than to hear his mommy's voice whisper to him or sing to him a soft lullabye.
With all the medical precautions, it is only normal to have fears about handling your preemie. Dr. Caparas de-Castro says, “I always tell parents to be more observant of preemies. They have to learn how he feels, breathes and moves.” Watching your baby keeps you attuned to his needs, and at the same time makes that all-important connection between you and your little one.
Citadel Caparas-De Castro, M.D., pediatrician, University of Sto. Tomas Hospital, Espana, Manila; ACOP Children’s Clinic, Antipolo City
John Ong,MD, DPPS, FSCCMP,FSPCCMP; pediatric intensivist; UST Hospital, Espana, Manila
What To Expect The First Year, 1989, Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff, and Sandee E. Hathaway, B.S.N.
Photography by David Hanson Ong
Did you give birth to a preemie? What's your personal bonding tip with him? We'd love to know. Fill up the comment form below.