Having a premature baby is usually a bit of a shock. As it is not usually something that can be planned for, parents can find themselves unprepared for the needs of the tiny new baby. Newborn clothes can be way too big, bottle teats too much of a mouthful, and nappies too loose. On the other hand, you don’t need everything to be designed differently.
Here are some tips on what products might be a better fit for your premature baby, or which might make life a little easier…
1. Clothes: Little Mouse premature collection, from £5.95
If you’ve already got the ‘going home’ outfit prepared for your little one, in newborn size, chances are that they won’t fit. However, there are some lovely clothing brands designed for premature babies, which you can easily buy online.
New brand Little Mouse has a lovely selection of clothes for premature, tiny and newborn babies. Its premature collection is designed for babies as small as 1lb in weight and includes some lovely incubator vests, hats and baby grows. BabyPrem also has a huge range, including special clothes for the intensive care unit. It also offers free delivery, and express delivery from £6.95 so that you can get the clothes you need super speedily.
Other websites with great ranges and express delivery include the Teddy & Me and Cheeky Chums, which caters for babies even under 1lb.
Buy Little Mouse clothing and accessories from Little Mouse
Best places to buy clothes for premature babies
2. Nappies: Pampers New Baby Micro, £2.50 (for pack of 24)
Nappies are such an essential item from day one, and getting a good fit means your little one is much more comfortable. So looking at those aimed at the tiniest of babies is worth it, if your little one is premature. Pampers’ ‘preemie protection’ for example is designed for babies under 1800g. It has a narrower core to allow your preemie’s legs and hips to rest more comfortably, all-over fastening to help with a better fit, and all round absorbency to help with changing properly. The Preemie is only supplied directly to hospitals, but Pampers offers the New Baby Size 0 (Micro) nappy, which is suitable from 1-2.5kg. ASDA’s Little Angel also comes in size 0 (1-2.5kg), and other brands offer micro sizes too.
You can buy the New Baby Micro nappy from Amazon or Asda
3. Cot: Chicco Next To Me Crib, £154.99
In hospital, premature babies are often allowed to rest on their side or tummy. However, as soon as you bring your little one home – where they’re not monitored around the clock – the advice regarding sleep is the same as for full-term babies.
You are advised to put your baby on his back, in a cot or moses basket free of toys, pillows and such. They should also be in the same room as you for the first six months. Premature babies are at higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, so it’s especially important to heed the advice.
The good news is that you can probably use the cot or basket you have already chosen. However, if you’re keen to be closer to your baby due to the shock of their premature birth, it’s worth considering a bed-side cot, that allows to attend to your little one a bit easier. Popular models include the Chicco Next to Me Crib (which won Silver in the Best Co-sleeper Crib at our MadeForMums Awards this year) or the SnuzPod bedside crib.
The Chicco Next to Me Crib is available from John Lewis or Mothercare, and the Snuzpod bedside crib is available from Amazon or Argos.
Round-up of award-winning co-sleeping cots
4. Bottle: Dr Browns Preemie, £5.99
Premature babies usually have a poor sucking reflex, and it can be a challenge to normalise feeding if they have previously been supported by feeding tubes. Finding a suitable bottle adapted for premature babies can help. Dr Browns, for example, offers a 60ml ‘Preemie Bottle’ (available from Amazon or Boots), with extra Preemie teats too which are around 47% slower than a level 1 teat.
In addition, if you’re keen to try a dummy, then it’s worth considering one for premature babies. The Lil Pacee Pacifier (£6.95), for example, is suitable from 24 to 32 weeks gestation and is available from retailers such as Early Baby.
5. Baby Sling: AmaWrap, from £39.99
One way to safely care for your premature newborn is by keeping them close in a sling carrier. We advise to always check with a medical professionals whether it’s safe to carry your preemie this way, but if approved, it’s probably easiest to start with a stretchy wrap such as the AmaWrap Baby Sling, which is a MadeForMums Awards’ winner for baby slings (see our in-depth review here). It is targeted in particular at smaller babies and can be used from newborn.
You can buy the AmaWrap from Amazon or AmaWrap
6. Car seat and travel: Jané Matrix Light 2, £260
You don’t need to get a special infant car seat for a premature or super small baby. However, as premature babies may have breathing difficulties when sitting propped up, we would recommend a lie flat car seat, such as the Jané Matrix Light 2 or the Kiddy Evo Luna i-Size car seat. You can also buy extra supportive inserts, such as the Diono Cuddle Soft Travel support that can easily be moved between car seat and pushchair.
Buy the Jané Matrix Light 2 from Jané UK
If you’re looking for more advice on premature babies, have a look at these articles: