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Challenge: Bringing Home Baby: What Do You Wish You’d Known?

...a month early-that's nothing! ....except that it's everything

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My daughter was born exactly 1 month before her due date. Many people said-that's nothing! She is essentially full-term! But they were so wrong! After struggling with jaundice in postpartum, and then being readmitted to the NICU for phototherapy for her jaundice, the struggles of having a late-pretermer were just beginning (by no means were they as challenging as the micro preemies I have cared for at work-but still challenging). In the beginning, breastfeeding seemed impossible; my 35 week baby was tiny (her newborn clothes were huge!), had a tight jaw, and very small mouth: cue nipple shields, pumping to supplement and waking her up every 2-3 hours around the clock to feed. This was followed by the comparison game...I looked at friends babies and read blogs and followed the "this is what your baby is doing this week" guide and panicked myself. My ___ (insert week or month here) baby wasn't doing what she was suppose to.  But, she was "basically full-term," so she should be! Except that she wasn't basically full-term at all. She should have been inside for 5 more weeks! At 5 weeks old, when other babies were smiling-mine was sleeping, or crying...not smiling. She was barely at her due date! Breastfeeding finally got "easier" around 2 months-despite everyone telling me that at 5 weeks it gets easier. Even now, with her being 5 months old, I have to remind myself that her brain development is that of a 4 month old. She's not sitting-and that's ok! She's just getting the hang of rolling belly to back-and that's ok! I wish that i had given my daughter credit for her early arrival, and lowered my expectations of her and her development to that of her gestational age (not her chronological age). Know that if you have an early arrival, things may not advance as the "app" tells you it should-and that's okay!

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