Did you know research shows that how much sleep your premature baby gets directly affects overall development, including brain development, growth and weight gain? Think of sleep time as growing time. Preemie brains are busy organizing; the needed connections for memory and learning are developing, as is their immune system to protect baby from illness. Research shows that premature babies deprived of much needed sleep will struggle to grow to their full potential, and may struggle in later years with learning, managing their emotions and overall sense of well-being.
Preemies especially struggle with going to and staying asleep. These babies born early need even more sleep than their full-term counterparts because they’re still developing, growing and catching up to their peers. When your baby was still in the hospital after birth, your nurses were careful to cluster their care when baby was awake to maximize disturbing baby’s much-needed sleep. You can do this at home as your baby grows and develops.
Promote your preemie baby’s sleep through low lighting, a quiet sleep environment that includes a calming “white noise” to reduce interruptions and using super-absorbent diapers with wetness indicators to avoid waking your baby for diaper checks during sleep time.