Care of a Premature Infant Overview

Introduction

A premature infant is a very sensitive and vulnerable being. It has organs that have not completely matured. Hence, the infant must be accorded special care in a nursery to sustain the development of organs and guarantee its survival. Nevertheless, infant mortality rate has been increasing at an alarming rate necessitating a swing of paradigm from nursery based care to home based care (ADAM Health Illustrated Encyclopedia, 2007).

Feeding and nutrition

Generally, feeding a premature infant have always posed a challenge to the caregivers. In the past century as opposed to the present, breast feeding had been given a greater priority relative to other forms of feeding. In fact wet nurses took up the role of breast feeding premature babies on behalf of the mother. Certain instruments such as feeding tubes or droppers were employed for feeding babies who were unable to feed (Reedy, 2007).

In 1960s popular opinions strongly upheld the breast feeding for all babies. From that time onwards mothers have been encouraged to breast feed their preemies at all time possible. In circumstances where distance or the infant’s labile health hinders direct breast feeding, mothers are advised to pump breast milk, so that the medical practitioners can put it in bottles and feed the babies or preserve it for use in the subsequent days. Clinical studies indicate a paramount benefit of breast milk for all babies especially the preemies (Reedy, 2007).

Campaign for premature infants

The campaign for premature infants was first put to the limelight in 1930s by public health officials. The children’s Bureau spearheaded the campaign for premature infant care by counseling local endeavors and giving monetary support to them. In addition, the bureau sponsored premature infant study and a follow-up hospital in New York City. Public health headquarters in cities and states stated developing strategies for sensitizing hospitals, doctors and nurses on the premature infant (Reedy, 2007).

In the 1940s nurseries premature infants care were relatively well equipped with appropriate instruments for infant care. This helped increase the chances of survival following to discharge. However, health conditions that persisted beyond the neonatal period were attributed to prenatal effects or adverse home conditions. This state stimulated innovation of treatment options following the adoption of useful ideas and processes applied by peers. Often this technique proved useful until the 1950s when it became apparent that the preemies nursery was facing a crisis (Reedy, 2007).

Role of mothers

The present trend of registering premature infants in the neonatal care affords them an increased level of medical treatment which helps increase their chances of survival. However, this division deprives the mothers of the opportunity to induce an attachment process. Thus, some programs such as Kangaroo Programs have been designed to bring back together mothers with their infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) (Ahn, Lee, & Shin, 2010).

Research conducted by Ahn et al. (2010) have revealed that mothers of premature infants experienced challenges in sustaining the parent’s responsibilities due to the infant’s declined chances of survival, escalated incidence of abnormalities as well as long-term severance.

Affonso , Bosque, and Wahlberg (1993) argue that treatment in the NICUs can hinder the process of nurturing a optimistic baby’s perception and stimulating the attachment process through reduction on the mother-infant contact period. Nevertheless, based on Shin (2003) frequent parental visits should be checked to reduce incidence of nosocomial disease, physical and environmental barriers, and staff loading.

Conclusion

Noteworthy, mothers’ involvement in premature infant care is both beneficial to both the infant and the mothers as revealed by the Ahn et al. (2010) research. Research indicates that mother’s engagement in care stimulated desirable physiological outcomes including improved infant stature and head circumferences. Also, mothers who initially indicated moderate level of depression depicted no symptoms of depression after a 3 week attachment period.

Reference List

ADAM Health Illustrated Encyclopedia. (2007) Premature infant. Health line networks inc. Web.

Affonso, D. D., Bosque, E., & Wahlberg V, et al. (1993). Reconciliation and healing for Mothers through skin-to-skin contact provided in an American tertiary level intensive care nursery. Neonatal Network, 12:25-32.

Ahn, H. Y., Lee, J., & Shin, H. J. (2010). Kangaroo Care on Premature Infant Growth and Maternal Attachment and Post-partum Depression in South Korea. Journal of tropical pediatrics, 56 (5), 342-344.

Shin, Y. H. (2003). Current status of Korean premature infant care and its perspective. J Korean Acad of Child Health Nur,9, 96-106.

Reedy, E. A. (2007). American babies: their life and times in the 20th century. Westport, U.S.; Praeger publishers.