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Premature Infants Care

Breastfeeding and ‘skin to skin’ contact can save the lives of premature infants.

‘Skin to skin’ contact regulates heart rate and breathing, helps maintain body temperature, stimulates longer and more peaceful sleep, encourages breastfeeding and can influence growth in body weight. All of these factors can shorten the length of a premature baby’s stay in hospital.

A child’s growth and development literally dependent on physical contact with its parents, while for a baby its mother’s breast milk is not only food but also medicine.

"In 2015 UNICEF, aided by companies and individuals, donated accessories for breastfeeding and equipment necessary for ‘rooming-in’ worth 450,000 Kuna to neonatology wards."

About 2,300 premature children, namely children born before the thirty-seventh week, are born each year in Croatia and around 300 to 400 of them require intensive medical treatment. Premature birth disrupts the subtle process of preparation for parenthood. For parents, this means that instead of feelings of satisfaction, happiness and tranquillity they are overcome by fear for the health and life of their child.

Babies are highly vulnerable during the first days of life with a correspondingly high mortality rate, but there is also a high rate of later neurodevelopmental disorder in children born prematurely.

The aim of the programme is to ensure that every premature child in Croatia gets the best possible care to overcome the difficulties it may encounter during its first days. The programme organised education on feeding premature babies with mother’s milk for health professionals engaged in neonatal care.

>> Baby Friendly Hospitals Initiative

>> Breastfeeding Support Groups

Updated: 24 May 2016
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