Posts Tagged ‘premature’

Holidays & your child with special needs- tips for the NICU, visiting Santa, dinners & traveling

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Parents in NICUFrom spending holidays in the NICU, finding developmentally appropriate toys, eating at Grandma’s house (without a meltdown!), to visiting Santa in a loud, bright mall, the holidays can be oh so hard for a child with special needs. Here is a walk down blog post memory lane to help you get through the next few weeks and even have some fun.

We wish you a stress-free, calm, smooth holiday season. If you have any tips that have worked for you, please share them! You can find more posts on parenting a child with special needs, here.

Questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

 

It’s Prematurity Awareness Month – come chat with us!

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

preemie and mom

We have lots of great Twitter chats scheduled. Please join us:

  November 4th 11am ET #PreemieChat with @NICHD_NIH

November 9th 2pm ET #ActEarly with @AUCDNews

November 12th  1pm ET #PrematurityChat with @keepemcookin

November 13th 9pm ET #NICUchat with @PeekabooicuRN

November 17 is World Prematurity Day. Join us for the 24-hour #worldprematurityday Buzzday.
Help raise awareness by wearing purple -the color of prematurity and the March of Dimes.

November 18th 1pm ET #NICUPMAD with @postpartumprog & @selenidotorg

November 19th 1pm ET #PreemieChat with @GeneticAlliance

For more information about these chats contact: askus@marchofdimes.org

preemie hand in adult hand

Breastfeeding your baby in the NICU can be challenging

Monday, August 4th, 2014

feeding in the NICUMost babies, even those born very premature can learn to breastfeed. Breast milk provides many health benefits for all newborns, but especially for premature or sick babies in the NICU. Feeding a preemie may be much different than what you had planned. If you must pump, you may feel disappointed that you are not able to feed your warm baby on your breast. But, providing breast milk for your preemie is something special and beneficial that you can give him.

Here are tips to help you breastfeed your preemie while in the NICU.

If your baby is unable to feed or latch:

‚Äʬ†Start pumping as soon as you can to establish your milk supply. Ask a nurse for a pump and assistance.

‚Äʬ†If your preemie is tube feeding, your baby‚Äôs nurse can show you how to give your baby his feedings.

‚Äʬ†Pump frequently, 8 to 12 times during a 24 hour span of time.

‚Äʬ†Practice skin to skin or kangaroo care if your nurse says it is ok. Both are beneficial, even if your baby is connected to machines and tubes.

If your baby is able to suckle:

‚Äʬ†Ask to feed him in a quiet, darkened room, away from the beeping machines and bright lights.

‚Äʬ†Many mothers find the cross cradle position very helpful for feedings. Start with kangaroo care. Then position the baby across your lap, turned in towards you, chest to chest. Use a pillow to bring him to the level of your breast if you need to.

‚Äʬ†Preemies need many opportunities at the breast to develop feeding skills regardless of gestational age. This requires practice and patience.

‚Äʬ†You may need increased support to breastfeed your preemie. Look for support from your nurses, the hospital’s lactation consultant, friends or family.

Not every tip will work for every mom. Try to find the feeding methods and solutions that work best for you and your preemie. More information on how to feed your baby in the NICU can be found here.

If you have questions about how to feed your baby, email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

NICU – newborn intensive care unit

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

discovery-health-nicu-seriesSometimes, no matter if we do everything right, something goes wrong and a baby is born too soon or very sick and from day one needs special care in the hospital.  About 10 to 15 percent of babies born in the United States each year are treated in a NICU. Many babies are admitted to NICUs after they’ve originally been sent home, too. Some of the reasons for this include premature birth, a difficult delivery, breathing problems, infections, or birth defects.

March of Dimes has been a staunch advocate of NICUs for decades.  It was in 1976 that the March of Dimes called for the creation of a regional system of newborn intensive care units across the country to save sick babies.  NICUs are sophisticated special centers that have highly trained staff and amazing machines and technological advances all focused on helping our tiny and sick babies survive.  Can you imagine how stressful it is for parents to have their baby in a NICU? The uncertainty, the highs and lows, and the decisions all take their toll.  It truly is a roller coaster ride.

NICU is a world premiere television series that follows the experiences of real families¬†fighting for their babies’ lives in a newborn intensive care unit.¬†¬† March of Dimes has partnered with Discovery Health to help¬†raise awareness of the seriousness of the¬†issue and the impact it has on families. ¬†NICU premieres tonight Thursday, July 15, at 10 PM (ET/PT) on Discovery Health and will continue for 10 weeks. Watch it and see who the March of Dimes is fighting for.

Warning about sling carriers for babies: Suffocation risk

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Slings have become really popular. You get to hold your baby really close, and baby seems to love them, too. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a warning about how slings can pose a suffocation risk. There are two types of risks.

Risk 1: In the first few months of life, babies cannot control their heads because their neck muscles are weak. The sling’s fabric can press against the baby’s nose and mouth and block his breathing. If this happens, the baby can suffocate within a minute or two.

Risk 2: If the sling keeps the baby in a curled position, her chin can bend toward her chest. This too can lead to suffocation.

Without enough oxygen, the baby won’t be able to cry for help.

The risk seems to be the greatest for low birthweight babies, babies born prematurely, and babies born with breathing problems. Parents of these babies should ask their baby’s health care provider about whether to use a sling.

If you do use a sling for your baby, keep these safety tips in mind. Be sure the baby’s face isn’t covered and that you can see it at all times. If you nurse your baby in a sling, change the baby’s position after feeding so his head is facing up and is clear of the sling and your body. Check your baby often when she’s in the sling.

Update: The Academy for Breastfeeding Medicine disagrees with CPSC’s recommendation. Go to the March 22 post for more info.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

preemie

In the spirit of Prematurity Awareness Month, I’d like to invite any of you who wish to add a name of a preemie in your family or circle of close friends¬†to my list.¬† You’d be surprised at how many preemies¬†you know!¬†

I’m incredibly thankful for:

My husband – born 8 weeks premature¬†.¬† It’s miraculous that he is here.

My grandson, Matthew – born 6 weeks early.

Thinking about an induction?

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

pregnancy-womanIt seems like your pregnancy has been going on forever. You’re exhausted. You’re not sleeping. Your back really hurts. Isn’t it time to induce labor?

Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t.

Since 1990, the rate of inductions in the United States has more than doubled. In 2006, roughly 1 out of every 5 women had their labor induced.

Medical experts are concerned that many inductions are medically unnecessary. They can pose a risk to the baby. One main worry is that the baby may be born too early. Babies born preterm are at risk of serious health problems.

In August, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued new guidelines on inductions. The organization cautions health care providers to avoid inductions before 39 weeks gestation. There must be a clear medical reason to induce labor before then.

For more information, read the March of Dimes news release.

Wow! Eight babies at once!

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

numeral-8-smallHave you been following all the reports about the woman in¬†California who just delivered eight babies? I sure have. The babies are miracles, and I’m so¬†thrilled that everyone is doing well.

The news reports say the woman probably had¬†fertility treatments. Did you know¬†that most¬†fertility specialists do not recommend becoming pregnant with so many babies? It’s dangerous for¬†both the mom and the babies.

The¬†California babies were born nine weeks¬†premature. Preterm birth can cause serious complications and even lifelong health¬†problems.¬†That’s why the March of Dimes is conducting a national campaign to fight prematurity.

Any time a woman is pregnant with more than one baby, she and the babies face extra risks.¬†If you’re carrying more than one baby, work with your health care provider to be as healthy as you can.

If you’re thinking about having fertility treatments or are already having them, talk to your doctor about reducing the chances of having too many babies. Your health and your children’s health will thank you.

CNN has more on this topic.

Welcome ambassador Katelyn Hall

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

2009 ambassador Katelyn HallBorn no larger than a ballpoint pen at birth, a premature baby girl who survived overwhelming odds has been named the 2009 National Ambassador for the March of Dimes. The National Ambassador Program is an annual campaign that puts a face on the March of Dimes mission…the face of a child who was saved by March of Dimes research, programs, or educational campaigns designed to improve infant health.

Katelyn Marie Hall, age 5, from Leesburg, Virginia, was born very early at 25 weeks, weighing less than one pound.  The family says Katelyn was given only a 5 percent chance of survival. During her five-month stay in the NICU, she endured many of the obstacles that are common to babies born prematurely.   She was treated for chronic lung disease, battled many infections, underwent heart surgery, and suffered from bleeding in the brain.

When Katelyn’s parents, Ashley and Michael Hall, finally got to take their little daughter home, Katelyn’s calendar quickly filled up with numerous visits every week to doctors, including a neonatologist, pediatric cardiologist, gastroenterologist, ophthalmologist, and more. Katelyn was also on supplementary oxygen and took ten medications every day.

Katelyn is one of the more than 540,000 babies born too soon every year in the United States.¬† “Premature birth is the most common, serious and costly infant health problem facing our nation, and it has reached a crisis,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “We are determined to find and implement solutions to prevent preterm birth, based on research, best clinical practices and improved education for moms.”

Today, Katelyn is the joy of her parents lives.¬† In many ways, she acts like a typical five-year-old ‚Äď she loves to run, jump and play outside with her dog, Sequoia. But because of her premature birth, Katelyn has developmental delays and slight cerebral palsy that affects the left side of her body.¬† She began walking and talking late for her age, and continues to work with speech, occupational and physical therapists.¬† The March of Dimes says she was chosen as 2009 National Ambassador because she exemplifies the long-term problems faced by many children who survive an extremely early birth.

Follow Katelyn on her journey across the country.   If you are interested in becoming an ambassador family, contact your local chapter of the March of Dimes.

The last weeks of pregnancy really count: Here’s why

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Scientists have known for a long time that premature birth can lead to problems with a baby’s brain development.

A research team, led by Dr. Joann Petrini of the March of Dimes, has learned that early birth increases the risk of cerebral palsy, developmental delays and mental retardation. The surprising finding is that this risk is true even for babies born as late as 34-36 weeks. The researchers published their study today in The Journal of Pediatrics.

A full-term pregnancy is 39 weeks. But more and more births are being scheduled early for non-medical reasons. Wouldn’t it be nice if the baby could be born when Grandma is in town? Or before the obstetrician goes on vacation?

But early births can cause problems for both mom and baby. If possible, it’s best to stay pregnant for at least 39 weeks.

There are lots of important things happening to your baby in the last few weeks of pregnancy. If you can, give your baby all the time he needs to grow before he’s born.

Those last weeks of pregnancy are hard. You’re tired, you’re not sleeping, you ache. It seems as if you’ve gained a million pounds. As my sister used to say with a long sigh, “I can’t see my feet any more.” But staying pregnant until 39 weeks matters: for you and for your baby.

The March of Dimes Web site has a helpful drawing, showing the difference between the brains of babies born at 35 and 39 weeks. Take a look. And tell us what you do to make those last hard weeks of pregnancy a little easier.