Premature Newborn Baby Care

Our littlest babies need our biggest attention. A whopping 10+% of all babies are born premature (before the 37th week of pregnancy is completed). That’s over 400,000 premature babies annually who need special care. 

Why do premature babies need extra care?

Early babies have more health problems than full-termers do—particularly with their hearts and lungs. Also, preemies face a higher risk of SIDS.

And let’s not forget their moms and dads! They need lots of extra support too. After parents leave the stressed ambiance of the NICU (with 24/7 nurses, monitors and testing), they often feel suddenly all alone when they come home. And, that can make worry levels bubble up…and sometimes even shoot through the roof. Preemie parents often feel the pressure to do everything right—be great parents and perfect nurses—for their fragile babies. In fact, moms of preemies get an unfair share of PPD (postpartum depression) at two to three times the rate of moms of full term babies (as high as 40%!). And studies suggest that PPD may also be a serious concern for preemie dads, too.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and November 17th is World Prematurity Awareness Day. Happiest Baby hopes that by shining a light on the challenges of premature birth—and offering ways to help—we might make it just a little easier on our littlest babies and their amazing parents.

How do you take care of a preemie baby?

All newborns benefit from 3 months (a 4th trimester) of extra cuddling, sound and rocking. But, these little infants even need a bit more because they missed some of their 3rd trimester in mom’s belly. That’s why they feel so happy when we spend some time imitating their life in the womb, such as the 5 S’s (snug swaddling, shushy white noise and swinging motion) and skin-to-skin contact. (A UCLA study showed our Happiest Baby white noise helped improve cardiopulmonary health in preemies—less hypoxia/bradycardia). Parents—and their trusted helpers—should use these methods often, and use them with love!

Rest for Parents & Peace of Mind

Last month, Happiest Baby released our new smart sleeper, SNOO. It is a super safe, super effective baby bed! SNOO’s innovative features give all babies an extra serving of the soothing, rhythms of the womb. Within a day or two, SNOO boosts sleep and even calms a lot of baby fussing (it won’t soothe a baby who is hungry or uncomfortable, but it quickly calms babies who just need a bit more calming rhythms). In addition, our Smart Sleeper is extra safe because the unique SNOO Sack has special wings that clip to the crib to keep babies on the back. This little innovation can give moms and dads peace of mind, and help them sleep more soundly through the night.

About Dr. Harvey Karp

Dr. Harvey Karp, one of America’s most trusted pediatricians, is the founder of Happiest Baby and the inventor of the groundbreaking SNOO Smart Sleeper. After years of treating patients in Los Angeles, Dr. Karp vaulted to global prominence with the release of the bestselling Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block. His celebrated books and videos have since become standard pediatric practice, translated into more than 20 languages and have helped millions of parents. Dr. Karp’s landmark methods, including the 5 S’s for soothing babies, guide parents to understand and nurture their children and relieve stressful issues, like new-parent exhaustion, infant crying, and toddler tantrums.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.