7 Preemie Moms Share The Special Ways They Bonded With Their “Little Fighters”


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For parents whose babies are born prematurely, the days, weeks, and months after they welcome their little ones into the world can be both joyous and stressful. Even simple milestones like breastfeeding for the first time or changing the first wet diaper may be deferred as medical treatments and procedures are performed, and diagnostic tests are run.

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Despite daily challenges and uncertainty, parents of preemies find ways to celebrate and bond with their babies, as these proud moms shared with us:

Diaper Duty
“Elizabeth and Matthew were born six weeks early and went straight to the NICU without me even being able to hold them. The first time I saw them, they were barely recognizable due to all of the tubes and wires, and they were admitted to beds on different sides of the NICU so I had to choose which one I spent time with for the first week,” says Amanda. “I was scared to pick them up without a nurse's help because of all the wires and IV lines. I didn't know if it was all right to touch them without a nurse's ok. It's such a bizarre feeling to know that these are your babies but feel afraid of even touching them. Everything felt more real and right when I finally felt comfortable holding them on my terms and changing their diapers while expertly moving the wires.”

Kangaroo Care
"When our 4-pound preemie was born and still in the NICU, the hospital recommended we try kangaroo care,” says Kathy. “It was like turning on a light switch. The minute either my husband or I held our son with skin-to-skin contact, his oxygen rose to a near perfect level. My heart smiled with love."

Breastfeeding Victory
“My daughter was born at 33 weeks. She was my firstborn child and I was overwhelmed with emotions while she was in the NICU,” says Leah. “At one week old, I was able to nurse her for the first time. I remember feeling a deep sense of nurturing and comfort that was innate to motherhood. Francesca was able to only nurse one time per day for the next week. She got stronger with each day and soon was nursing fulltime and on her way home.”

Brotherly Love
“[Our son] Luke was 3 when our daughter was born. It was January (flu season) so he wasn’t allowed in the NICU,” says Chelsea. “The nurses had me bring home a coloring page of a giraffe for him to decorate and color for her. We hung it on her isolette and would take pictures of her with the giraffe in them. He was so excited when he saw ‘his giraffe’ in the pictures. We framed it and have it in our home now, almost 10 years later.”

A Connection to Grandma
“My husband and I were standing at Trinity's bedside (she was in the radiant warmer, with an oxygen hood). We were looking her over, so happy and blessed to have our beautiful baby girl, but also somber and incredibly worried,” says Betty Jo. “Then we noticed her toes. Her absolutely perfect, extremely crooked toes that look exactly like my mom's. The toes my mom has spent her life complaining about, on our sweet, beautiful, perfect preemie. I started laughing, really laughing for the first time since my water broke. Those beautiful crooked toes were my sign that everything would be ok, and Trinity's grandma hasn't complained about her toes since.”

Skin to Skin Bonding
“The first time I was able to hold Luke, he was one week old. It was Easter Day, and I was still struggling with severe pain and migraines from the preeclampsia that caused his early birth,” says Natalie. “I will never forget the moment they put him on my bare chest. My husband sat across from me with tears in his eyes. He asked how I felt. Every ounce of pain was replaced with an unimaginable happiness. That was the first time since his birth that my worry was replaced with peace. At that moment in time, I was finally able to enjoy my newborn and feel like his Mom.”

A “Piece of Mom” Nearby
“We knew in advance that Natalie would be spending at least 3 weeks in the NICU, so I did everything I could to prepare for what I knew would be a difficult time for her and us,” says Robin. “I sewed a dozen small flannel blankets and slept with them for several weeks leading up to her birth so they would have my scent and then bagged them in her NICU suitcase along with one in my delivery bag. [My husband] kept that blanket with him during my C-section and she was immediately laid on it upon arrival to the NICU. I was not able to physically be with her for several hours after her birth or hold her for two weeks, but every minute of her NICU stay she had a piece of me with her and she was able to smell my scent. I believe in my soul that it helped her and was a foundation for our strong bond. She was the most peaceful and calm baby even following all three her neurosurgeries she had in the NICU. She was completely content to snuggle into her isolette with her momma-made, momma-scented blankets.”

In the United States, 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely every year, and the March of Dimes recognizes World Prematurity Day on Friday, November 17th to help promote advocacy, education and awareness. Pampers is proud to partner with the March of Dimes to support these littlest fighters. You can help by subscribing to Pampers at Amazon. For every new subscription from 11/11 thru 11/17, Pampers will donate $10* to the March of Dimes.

*up to $150,000

Subscribe and save on Amazon.

 

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