The attachment relationship is really important
THE most important tips for raising your premmie are
HOWEVER, after these critical basics, the next most important tip for raising a premmie is to develop a close, loving, safe, secure relationship together. In psychology, we call this the "Attachment" relationship.
Through no fault of their own, the attachment relationship between premmies and their parents can be difficult. Many studies show that secure attachments are much lower in premmie-parent relationships and insecure attachments higher. This is one very important area where expert help has been shown to help. Many psychologists use attachment to help families. In addition, many early-childhood specialists are trained in Circle of Security programs that are normally run in groups. These are evidence-based and prove that attachment can be taught.
Ref: Nuccini F et al., (2015) The attachment of prematurely born children at school age. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 20(3), 381-94.
Disrupted sleep can stop memories forming
A group of a children, some of whom who had disordered breathing, were asked to remember series of things. The learning session was given one day, then the children went to sleep, and the testing session was the following day. The children with disordered breathing did not remember as well as the other children. This shows that sleep problems have an impact on the developing brain and probably affects the way children learn.
Premmies are more likely to have breathing disorders and it is important to identify sleep problems early in childhood. Snoring is one symptom of disordered breathing.
Reference: European Lung Foundation Disruption of sleep in children could hamper memory processes
Women who were born prematurely are more like to have pregnancy complications
A huge study in Canada looked at the pregnancy outcomes of women who were and were not themselves born prematurely. Complications in the "not born premmie" group occurred in 1/10 pregnancies and rose to 1/5 in the mothers who had been born before 32 weeks of gestation. The more preterm the mothers were born, the more likely they were to have complications. It was already known that women who were born with low-birth-weight have a higher risk of hypertension, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.
The take-home message-tell your obstetrician if you were born early.
Reference: Boivin, A., et al., Pregnancy complications among women born Preterm. CMAJ, 2012 DOI:10.1503/cmaj.120143