Friday, August 28, 2009

In my inbox this week

I found two great preemie related things in my inbox this week:

1) The Toys R’ Us Catalog for Differently-Abled Kids. I LOVE that Toys R' Us makes this catalog. They take their toys and divide them into appropriate developmental categories including sensory, gross motor, fine motor, etc. As parents of preemies, we quickly start to train ourselves to view products for more than just the pretty packaging. We constantly ask "What will my child learn/get out of this product?" I think it's great that Toys R' Us takes the time to create this catalog and give parents a head start for choosing products that will be helpful to our kiddos.

2) The NY Times article: For Parents on NICU, Trauma May Last I know this article has been passed around quite a bit this week but I wanted to post it just in case some of you hadn't seen it. So many times the stories about preemies focus solely on the babies. And more specifically the babies who are doing quite well. And while I love a good success story as much as the next person, I think people need to read that the NICU experience extends far beyond the actual experience. It becomes that much harder to survive the experience and get beyond it when no one around you understands what you went through. And they start to get bored hearing about it. I hope that more and more reporters will begin to seek out these stories. They need to be told. They deserve to be told. So thank you Laurie Tarkan for taking the opportunity.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to School Time

We are FINALLY (I hope) over the horrible cold that took over our house for two weeks.

With September just around the corner and school starting - it's time for a back to school post. We have a kindergartner in our house so we are all pretty excited (and a little nervous) about school starting this year.

Here are some tips to help make things easier for preemie's that are going to school or daycare.

The more they know
If your preemie has any medical issues and/or is taking medicine, be sure to talk with his/her teacher at the beginning of the school year.

  1. Let teachers and administrators know basic information about any conditions or issues that your preemie has. Some examples are: asthma, CLD, GERD, delays, etc.
  2. Siblings - If you have older children, let their teacher know a brief summary of your preemie's issues just in case a problem arises. We will be telling our son's teacher about my daughter's oxygen and feeding issues. That way if our son makes reference to it or other kids ask - the teacher will have a basic idea of the issue which will hopefully avoid any confusion.
  3. Services - If your preemie is receiving EI services that will take place during school hours - make sure you let the teacher know so proper arrangements (and expectations) can be made.


  1. If your preemie is taking medicine that must be administered at school, find out who will be giving the medicine and speak to them about proper dosage, how to give it, reactions, etc.
  2. Put a Personal Medication Card in your preemie's backpack. I highly recommend having the card for your preemie and carrying it in your purse, in the diaper bag, etc. The link I've provided is to the card that Standford Hospital hands out. If you want to make your own be sure to list the conditions your preemie is being treated for, known allergies, and medicines he/she is taking including dosage.

Social/Sensory/Specific Issues

  1. Social - if your child has any issues with peer (or adult) interaction - make sure your preemie's teacher is aware. Be as specific as possible - what triggers the problem, how to help calm your preemie down, etc.
  2. Sensory - if your preemie has any specific sensory sensitivities - tell the teacher. Again, be specific. Let them know exactly what causes the problem and how your preemie calms down. If the teacher knows in advance they can help prevent issues before they happen.
  3. Specific - Let your preemie's teacher if there is something specific that you want him/her to do or not do. Or on the flip side - if there is something specific that your preemie needs to do each day to ensure a smooth time.

Most importantly: Embrace the new beginning and opportunities for your preemie to learn new things!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Developmental Milestones: 16-19 months

This week's developmental post is focused on the developmental milestones of preemies who are 16-19 months old. Previously I have done posts for 12-15 months, 9-11 months, 6-8 months old, 3-5 months old and 0-2 months old.

Gross Motor

  • Walks up stairs with one hand held
  • Creeps backward down stairs
  • Climbs into an adult-sized chair

Small/Fine Motor

  • Puts a round shape in a shape sorter
  • Makes marks with a crayon or pencil
  • Stacks 3 blocks

Social/Play Skills

  • Plays with the same toy in different ways
  • Plays with one other child; each doing separate activities
  • Brings an object/toy to an adult to encourage adult to play


  • Names objects or pictures on request
  • Uses approx. 5-10 specific words by him/herself (not in imitation of someone else)
  • Will get 2-3 familiar objects when asked (one at a time)
  • Points to at least 3 body parts on him/herself or a doll

Ways to encourage development:

  • Continue to practice conversations - let your preemie say something and then say something back. Make sure you pause in between comments so that your preemie has a chance to respond.
  • Play ball - practice throwing and kicking. Use a large ball for kicking so your preemie can more easily make contact with the ball. For throwing, use a small ball that he/she can easily hold onto. You can practice throwing the ball back and forth or into a container.
  • Blocks - offer blocks as a toy. Practice stacking (and then knocking them down - the fun part). Build things.
  • Continue to read books with your preemie. Point out specific things on each page. "Look at the cow" "The cow is eating"
  • Encourage self-care - let your preemie try to feed him/herself more, take on and take off clothes and wash him/herself in the bath.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Be back soon

Sorry for the lack of recent postings - We have been in major cold city this week. My son managed to get through it pretty quickly but me? Not so lucky. I don't remember a cold this bad in a long time (I guess there is a definite plus side to staying away from sick people). Let's hope my daughter doesn't get any worse.

Be back this weekend with new posts!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thank You

I was recently informed that my blog was included on a list of the 50 Best Blogs for Neonatal Nurses.

Beyond wanting to send out a public thank you for the inclusion, I wanted to pass along the link to everyone because there are a lot of great blogs that could be useful to parents.

So thank you and happy reading!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When Pretend Feels More Real Than It Should

Like many girls (and boys) we have a play kitchen in our house. It's stocked with all sorts of pretend food, utensils, pots, pans and other necessary objects for a kitchen. With help my daughter will happily stir food and pretend to eat it. She very dutifully answers yes or no about the "taste" of the pretend food. Sounds like a great moment, right?

Not exactly.

The thing of it is that all our daughter does is "pretend" to eat food. She will happily ask for food and put it in her mouth. After a few moments or minutes the food comes right back out again. You can imagine how great our floors look sometimes. At this point it has pretty much become a part of our world. I've bought and tried every food possible - spicy soup, bright green pudding, ice cream, Fruit Loops, pickles, mango, the list goes on and on. So far nothing has worked. Since we know she can swallow we hope that she will soon figure out that it is okay to swallow.

As many parents of non-eaters know, it can be tremendously hard to have a baby who doesn't eat. On so many levels. One of the hardest areas is socially. Eating is so.....normal. People just can't grasp the idea that someone willingly will not eat. I've had family, friends, strangers, doctors, etc. tell me to try all sorts of things. And I do. I have. I will. But so far none have worked. Most people are well meaning. They truly want to help.

Then there is the flip side. Some think that we just aren't "doing it right." If only that were the reason. If only it was a matter of me being retrained because let me tell you - I would sign-up for that course in a heart beat. And I'm positive I wouldn't be the only one there. But alas. That's not quite it. It isn't a matter of buying the right food or feeding it to her in a certain way.

I know in time it will happen. It will. Until then I smile and try not to laugh (or sometimes cry) when I ask my daughter if that bite of air was indeed delicious.

It usually is.

Of course.