A premature or preterm baby is born well before the expected 40 weeks of gestation. The baby born before completing 37 weeks is termed a premature baby. Preemies commonly weigh under 2 kgs and are often faced with delay in their developmental milestones. Weight is the most important measure to assess your baby’s growth. Here is a bird’s eye view of how you can gauge if your baby’s growth is on the right track.
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- Your baby requires feeding at 1-2 hour intervals in the first 24- 48 hours after discharge from hospital. After that, feeds every 2-3 hours i.e. 8-10 feeds every day are enough. However, a premature baby might take some time before she starts gaining weight. With all the necessary steps taken, your baby should gain about 5 to 30 grams per day.
- Your baby should be given an average of 100 calories for every one kilogram of its existing weight each day. However, this rate of increase in weight might get delayed if your baby suffers from any health concern.
- Your baby will be discharged from NICU when it crosses the 2kg mark, if there are no other complications.
Growth: A premature baby shows a slower growth pattern as compared to a normal full term baby. Hence, it is important that you use the adjusted age of your baby while referring the growth charts.
- If your baby is 16 weeks old and was born at 34 weeks, which is 6 weeks before completing full term, subtract 6 from baby’s current age of 16 weeks. By following this calculation, the corrected age of your baby is 10 weeks (2.5 months).
- You should follow the corrected age for referring the growth chart till your baby is 2 years old. After 2 years, you can start using the standard growth chart.
- Pumped breast milk can be fortified by adding nutrition supplements if your pediatrician recommends that. This is called as fortified human milk.
- Fortified milk formula can be increased in its nutritional value by decreasing the amount of water added.
Most of all, don’t get too worried. Try and stay calm and show all your love and care - that fuels growth the most!
Disclaimer: This article has been written by experts for the users of BabyChakra