Manual Preemie Parents

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By Daniel Malloy. No piece of technology can manage the emotional cyclone of the neonatal intensive care unit, but a new app launched in May by the March of Dimes charity can bring some order and a little more sanity to a harrowing time for neonatal intensive care unit NICU fathers and mothers. March of Dimes — founded in to fight polio — has been involved with preemies for long enough that it gets the little things right, too.

We did not have the app when my twins were born last year, but when I downloaded it to write this story, my eyes gravitated instantly to one seemingly small feature. But on the app, NICU mothers pour out their raw emotions , and Zahui-Gboignon found validation for her complicated reaction to other mothers in the maternal ward who got to snuggle with their little ones immediately.

Progress in these halls is uneven and can often be measured in reading the faces of your fellow parents. You celebrate milestones that would appear so mundane to the outside world: breathing room air, drinking from a bottle.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

The free app also provides users with instructional videos on parenting and the checklist to complete before the child goes home — from learning how to feed the baby on your own to taking an infant CPR class. You check the connections on the car seat for the 67th time. A new stage of joyful terror awaits. But thanks to medical advances, children born after twenty-eight weeks of pregnancy, and weighing more than 2 pounds 3 ounces 1 kg , have almost a full chance of survival; eight out of ten of those born after the thirtieth week have minimal long-term health or developmental problems , while those preterm babies born before twenty-eight weeks have more complications, and require intensive treatment and support in a neonatal intensive care unit NICU.

As important as this care is for your baby's survival, her move to the special-care nursery may be wrenching for you. On top of all the worry about her health, you may miss the experience of holding, breastfeeding, and bonding with her right after delivery. You won't be able to hold or touch her whenever you want, and you can't have her with you in your room. To deal with the stress of this experience, ask to see your baby as soon as possible after delivery, and become as active as you can in caring for her.

Your baby will be ready to come home once she's breathing on her own, able to maintain her body temperature, able to be fed by breast or bottle, and gaining weight steadily.

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Caring for a Premature Baby: What Parents Need to Know -

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    The powerful way 'This is Us' is creating real change for preemie parents

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