Caring for your premature baby

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Premature babies, or “preemies” as they’re often called, require a little extra TLC during their first weeks and months of life. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your extra little one stays healthy.

Make sure your child gets all of their vaccinations.

The anti-vaccination movement has been in the media quite a bit lately for all the wrong reasons. As a direct result of parents refusing to vaccinate their children, there’s been a resurgence in preventable, potentially dangerous (for infants and small children) viruses such as measles and pneumococcal. It’s absolutely essential that you listen to your doctors and give your child the recommended vaccinations, both for their own safety and for the safety of other children around them. If your child is born prematurely, this is especially important, as they may have a weakened immune system and be less capable of fighting off infections.

Be on the lookout for possible developmental issues or learning disabilities.

Preemies have an increased risk of both. The sooner doctors can identify these conditions, the more able they are to address them.

Learn how to react in an emergency situation.

Although every parent hopes that disaster never strikes, it’s important to be prepared for the worst. At Samitivej, we also provide a basic CPR for every premature case before they leave the hospital. Also, make sure your doctor discusses in detail how to operate any special monitors, administer special medications or provide supplemental oxygen. Know the signs and symptoms that might indicate a problem or necessitate a hospital visit.

Keep germs as far away as possible.

A premature baby’s immune system hasn’t had as much time to fully develop as that of an infant born after 40 weeks. Consequently, the risk of catching a cold or a lung infection is especially high. Take this seriously and do everything you can to minimize bacteria around your baby, especially in those first few critical weeks of life. Stay away from crowded places such as shopping centers. Make sure that everyone who comes in contact with or near the baby washes their hands with antibacterial soap. If you know someone with a cold, ask them to wait until they’re better or at least until the baby has been home for several weeks.

Looking for a doctor for your Pediatrics questions? We recommend:
Raungpung Tangpolkaiwalsak, M.D. Raungpung Tangpolkaiwalsak, M.D.
Pediatric, Samitivej Sukhumvit
Questions about your pregnancy, child birth or life with an infant? Ask the Doctor!

Talk to your doctor about feedings.

Preemies, unfortunately, tend to eat less at one go than their peers, even though they often need more nutrition. As a result, doctors sometimes recommend formula supplements or breast milk fortifiers. You may also simply need to feed the baby more often throughout the day. Make sure you know what is reasonable to expect and how to gauge if your infant is taking in enough nutrients.

Set up a regular checkup schedule.

During those first few months, your doctor may want to see your baby quite often to monitor his or her progress. Make sure to set up a regular schedule and stick to it.


  1. Mayo Clinic: Diseases and Conditions – Premature birth. Available from: Accessed on February 3, 2015.

Photo Credit: jauhari via Compfight cc

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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