Although all infants grow in similar ways, your preemie is as unlike other preemies as you are unlike other adults.
Your preemie interacts with people and responds to things differently than other preemies. Also, his/her medical condition is not exactly the same as that of other preemies.
Your preemie is changing every day and most likely will need different ways of being cared for next week than this week.
Therefore, the care your preemie receives needs to fit his/her own personality. It is important not to do the same thing for all preemies, but to care for each preemie according to the messages he/she sends.
How do you find out about your baby's unique behaviors? The best way is to observe your baby when you or the nursery staff are taking care of him/her.
There are special exams that look at a preemie's behavior to get a picture of how he/she acts and reacts, what he/she likes and doesn't like. What is learned from the exam can be used to make the baby's world fit his/her own special needs.
The exams look at such things as if and how quickly the baby gets to be awake and alert; how he/she soothes him/herself when upset and how easy it is for an adult to soothe him/her; movement patterns; and how much handling the baby can stand without becoming upset.
You can find out more about these exams by asking the nursing staff, occupational therapist, or developmental specialist in your NICU.
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