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The BEST THINGS Come in the Smallest Packages

Did you know premature babies need a ton of support? I’m talkin’ WAY more support than we are told about at the hospital. If I really think about it, I actually don’t think anyone told me about any ways to support my premature baby.


If you have had a premature baby, you know how stressful it can be. Making sure they are urinating, hydrated, gaining weight, eating, etc… But I want to point out how little we are told at the hospital about how to take care of a premature baby once we are home.

I remember giving birth to my 4 week early son. First of all, I want to say, this MF came out a whole 5lb, 2oz, where the hell did the rest of these 45lbs I put on come from.

Ahh, I still dream of my 3 bowls a day of chocolate cereal.

Anyways, I remember the doctors and nurses taking him to the NICU. I’ll be honest with you. I had no clue I was even allowed to visit him. I didn’t know I was supposed to breastfeed him ASAP (I mean within the first hour). I knew absolutely nothing.

What I did know was the level of annoyance I felt when I saw my son drinking formula because I wanted to solely breastfeed.

But when it comes to life, sometimes how we plan things out doesn't always happen how we want. The Universe, God, Buddha, angels, guides, whoever or whatever is out there guiding us or whatever name you want to put, always has bigger and better plans than we could even imagine. Which was exactly what the plan was for me.

What is considered premature?

Any baby born less than 37 weeks.

What causes a baby to be preterm?

A diet low in fish/ fish oils/ Omega 3

9,000 pregnant women studied in Denmark ate no fish during their pregnancy. These women were 3x more likely to experience a premature delivery. (Holford, Ṿolf, & Lawson 2005)

I can definitely see this playing a role with me giving birth too early. I can probably count on 1 hand how many times I ate fish during my pregnancy and never took fish oils because who the heck knew you needed those?

Stress

High levels of stress during pregnancy were linked to low birth weight or preterm babies, More specifically, women who experience high levels of stress during pregnancy were 4x more likely to birth a preterm baby. (Holford, Ṿolf, & Lawson 2005)


I mean who doesn’t feel somewhat stressed out during pregnancy, I mean dude, you’re growing and carrying a human being. It is so important for Mamas to have some kind of stress-reducing activities. Whether it is walking, exercising, meditating, breathwork, massages, and etc.… These types of activities will also play a key role in helping you adjust life with a new baby and time for yourself!

If you have read any of my other blog posts or know what I am all about, you’ll know I’m a huge advocate on infants being born with an immature and sterile digestive system, which means, as parents, we MUST HONOUR that and support them. The best way to support a premature baby is by SOLELY breastfeeding and nourishing them with breast milk.

Supporting Premature Babies:


DHA Docosahexaenoic acid


For Breastfeeding Moms:

At higher doses, Mom will have enough for her and enough to pass through to her baby. During the 3rd trimester, infant’s brains go through a growth spurt of 400-500%, therefore, they NEED the DHA for their brain growth. (Phillipson-Webb 2010)


DOSAGE FOR MOM: 2400mg-3600mg per day. Now this dosage will depend on if Mom is consuming fish that day. If she is, she is better off at the lower end of the dose recommendation.


For formula fed babies: DHA ONLY


DOSAGE FOR BABY: 100mg per day


Breast milk- best option for a premature baby


- Through baby’s saliva, it signals Mom’s breast to give it exactly what it needs.

- provides immune support

- Digestive support because an infant’s immature digestive system, even more so for a premature baby

Vitamin D

For Breastfeeding Moms:


DOSAGE FOR MOM: 5,000 IU- 10,000 IU depending on each Mama. I wouldn’t consider supplementing during the summer because if Mom's arms, legs and face are exposed for 20 minutes in the sun, she will produce her own.


For formula fed babies:


DOSAGE FOR BABY: Most infant formulas already added Vitamin D, but double check. Premature infant’s can take 400 IU every other day. Vitamin D marketed for infants is dosed at a maximum of 400IU.


Probiotics:


For Breastfeeding Moms:


DOSAGE FOR MOM: 50 Billion 1-2x per day, along with consuming fermented foods like sauerkraut, water or coconut kefir, yogurt, and kimchi.


For formula fed babies:


DOSAGE FOR BABY: I STRONGLY recommend infants take double the dosage of an infant formulated probiotics because formula is already known to damage the gut and doesn’t support the health of good bacteria in the gut. So infants regardless if they are born preterm or full term MUST take probiotics. Once solids are introduced, offering probiotic rich foods is the best way to go.


I do want to mention, before supplementing with anything, please advise your Holistic Practitioner or Naturopathic Doctor who has experience with working with infants, specifically premature infants. Also, I did read somewhere a few years ago, but I can’t remember where, that in the last month of pregnancy is when infants produce the most of their lactase (enzyme to digest lactose). This means premature infants are more likely to experience issues with digesting milk, formula and other dairy products due to the lack of this special enzyme. However, I can’t seem to remember where this resource came from but I shall continue search for a reliable source for this information and verify it.


REFERENCES


Holford, Patrick, et al. Tezunah opṭimalit Le-Nashim Lifne Ha-Herayon, Bi-Mehalkho Ule-aḥar Ha-Ledah: Ha-Madrikh Ha-Shalem Le-Herayon Bari. Or ʻam, 2005.


“Infant Digestion.” Synergea Family Health Centre, www.synergea.ca/infant-digestion/.


Phillipson-Webb, Lianne. Sprout Right: Nutrition from Tummy to Toddler. Penguin Canada, 2010.

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