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 My baby was born premature and I feel so guilty even though my husband is supportive and reassures me it。ヲs not my fault. How can I feel better about my situation?

Premature birth happens for a number of reasons. It is natural for mothers to blame themselves, especially when the cause of the premature birth is related to the mother。ヲs health (i.e. pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, etc). However, the sooner you redirect your efforts from self-blame to focusing on bringing your baby home, the better prepared you may feel about facing the challenges of having a premature baby.
 My mood improves when my baby is stable, but whenever he has a setback in NICU I become depressed. Is it normal to feel like I。ヲm riding a roller-coaster?

Parents of babies in NICU can expect ups and downs during their experience. There are many physical and medical challenges for a preemie to overcome, generally relating to brain, heart, lungs, eyes and infections. Try to focus on the positive 。V you have a new baby that is showing resiliency and a will to live.
 How can I bond with my NICU baby when I can。ヲt even hold him or spend a lot of time with him?

Studies show that babies recognize their parents。ヲ voices while in utero, so you can speak or sing to your baby during visiting hours, or even record your voice or some soothing classical music in an MP3 to be played to the baby when you are not around.

Even if your baby is extremely premature, you will generally be able to touch him (using light pressure rather than strokes). The more time you spend helping with his care, the less 。ァhelpless。ィ you will feel, the more you will 。ァunderstand。ィ your baby。ヲs needs, and the more confident you will be about the transition from hospital to home.
I don。ヲt feel any bond with my NICU baby, I feel distant from 。ァmy child。ィ. Does this make me a bad parent?

Bonding takes time, and it is understandably difficult because of the limited time you are able to spend with your baby and the limited accessibility to your baby in NICU. Due to premature babies。ヲ sensitivity to overstimulation, and their very short periods of being awake, some parents may worry that not being able to hold and interact with their baby like a full-term newborn will harm parent-child bonding.

Sometimes, a delay in bonding is also due to not wanting to get too attached to a baby who is sick or at risk of having serious disabilities.

You may find it helpful to share your feelings and fears, take comfort in knowing that there are many parents of premature babies who are going through or have gone through experiences similar to yours. As your baby grows and his health improves, you will also gradually feel your affections for him growing, especially as you have more opportunity to be involved in his care.
 Is it even possible to breastfeed a premature baby in NICU?

Breastmilk is especially beneficial for premature babies. NICU has a breastfeeding room for you to try breastfeeding if your baby, generally for babies born only three or four weeks premature. If your baby is earlier than four weeks premature, he may not have the strength or coordination to suck. However, you are encouraged to use an electric breast pump to establish and maintain your milk supply. Many mothers have successfully maintained a milk supply to feed their babies breastmilk exclusively, in NICU and later at home. Once you see your baby thriving from the nourishment of your breastmilk, it will give you encouragement to continue for many months. NICU has specific guidelines on how to express and store breastmilk.
 The doctor told me that my baby is ready to go home next week, but after so many months of relying on NICU staff to take such good care of my baby, I don。ヲt think I。ヲm ready to take care of him by myself.

Sometimes it。ヲs ironic that at the beginning your priority is to see your baby healthy enough to leave NICU, but then when the time comes and this hope becomes a reality, you feel unprepared and frightened. For many parents of premature babies, NICU becomes a comforting and dependable place, where your baby has constant medical attention and experienced health-care assistants to feed and care for your baby.

To better prepare yourself for your baby。ヲs discharge, get to know your baby by spending time with him. Take advantage of the demonstrations and tips on caring for your baby from nurses and health-care assistants in NICU. If you visit him during different times of the day, you may be able to see a pattern of his alertness and sleeptime. If you stay a little longer after a feed, you may be able to see what he。ヲs like, i.e. sleepy, gassy, contented. The more hands-on you are with your baby。ヲs feeding, diaper changes and bathing, the more comfortable you will feel when you take your baby home.
 My premature baby is finally at home; now what do I do?

Even though premature babies had a rough beginning in life, their development is greatly affected by their home environment. You can provide loving care just by holding him, talking to him, interacting with him and comforting him.

Hold your baby as much as possible. If you haven。ヲt already started in the hospital, try holding your baby in the 。ァkangaroo。ィ position of lying upright on your chest so that he can feel the rhythm of your heartbeat and breathing. Many babies are greatly comforted in this position, especially when both of you are bare-chested.