Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dental Problems and Preemies

Did your preemie have get their teeth late, where they discolored, lacking enamel (white coating)? Did they have a high arched/grooved palate from the ET tube?

As with everything else preemies have risk in developing dental problems.

My son was almost 10 months before he got his first tooth. Delayed teeth is common in premature babies especially if they are very sick and have poor nutrition.

His front teeth were discolored. This is usually less common on permanent teeth, although not for us!! He also has some discoloration on his permanent teeth.  I was told that the cause was from mechanical ventilation and poor nutrition.

His back teeth are worn down a bit, from reflux and he developed a horrible overbite (or overjet) when his front teeth came in. and he needed four braces in his front teeth for about 6 month when he was 7.  "Phase One Ortho".  When he's 13-14 he will need a full set of braces and then possibly a headgear. REALLY?

It hasn't been confirmed for me but I can't help but wonder if his overbite had to do with the ET tube? He never sucked a pacifier he always sucked his ET tube!!

If your premature child has oral aversions its important to work with your OT or Speech Therapist to desenatize your child before a trip to the dentist or find a pediatric dentist that specialized in children with oral aversions. Some kids do have to be sedated for dental work. We haven't been there yet.

A great tool for brushing and to desensitize is an electric tooth brush. What has been our savior is  the Philips Sonicare for Kids. When brushing my sons teeth, he won't allow me in the back of his mouth without gagging and the Sonicare helps without having to fight him.

Always remember to:
  • Bring your baby for a dentist's appointment around her first birthday (or around the time s/he gets the first tooth. This is a recommendation from The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
  • Develop good toothbrushing habits as soon as the teeth break through the gums. The teeth should be cleaned two times a day — first thing in the morning and before bedtime.
Happy Brushing...

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Taking Back Some Control

Why is this happening?  This is a concept many of us can relate to for so many situations.

During our NICU journey I remember praying and talking to God daily and again and again when we were home (and still do).

Was there a reason for this happening to MY baby? Was it just bad Kharma (destiny or fate, following as effect from cause)? As time went on I realized its "just life".  Could it be that simple? It is.

My advice, try to take care of the things you do have control over. In the preemie situation (these can also be applied to any current events);

Ask yourself what are the things that I do have control of? the NICU world it doesn't seem like much but here are some things your can do.  Here are the things I tried;
  1. Take care of your baby the best you know how.
  2. You have control over you NICU, the people who take care of your child! If somethings not right let it be known.
  3. Join chat forums such as or Parent-2-Parent. Take advantage of the wonderful world of the internet I can't tell you how many great long term friends I now know who I can turn to who still "get it.
  4. Most important take care of YOU (I failed to do this,  took me years and I'm still learning and struggling with doing things for myself)
So what else can you do when your in crisis? Oprah once said "when you have done all you could do, been all you can be it's time to give it up to a higher power".  Today I'm a firm believer of that. I'm not saying give up! I'm saying one day at a time and do the best you can.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Keeping your baby healthy...

When we were coming home from the nicu one of the things that was drilled into our head was "if your baby gets sick he could end up right back her or worse die".  nice huh!! Maybe that comment was a bit harsh but  sadly it WAS the truth.

Having a newborn with no complications who gets sick is risky add the fact that that baby is preemie and with complicated health issues an entirely different story.

How did I keep my baby healthy? Well it wasn't easy after all baby's sick no matter how hard your try too keep them healthy and it is good for them to get cold's and build immunity but with my son anything like RSV and Pneumonia's could be fatal.

Now, I may have gone overboard with some of these techniques but it kept us out of the hospital and thats all that mattered to me at the time.
  1. Hand washing and Instant Hand Sanitizer in every room of the house.
  2. Frequent changing of clothes particularly if we had a lot of company and a lot of cuddling was being done.
  3. Keeping children away especially school aged children and children with colds.
  4. When we could travel, trips to Target or Grocery stores, even restaurants always required a Cart Seat Cover When we returned from outing it was bath time for everyone!
  5. I even went as far as putting a sign on my door "If you have a cold, even if you think its allergies please do not come in" ...ok sounds little crazy to most but end result was I didn't want to end back in the hospital
RSV as we all know how  is dangerous tfor any infant  and is 10x worse for premature babies.  Here is a little tid bit about RSV from the March of Dimes .

I recently came across THIS sign by My Tiny Hands  I thought was a GREAT. Wish it were around when by son was a baby.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Will my preemie catch up in growth?

Well my former preemies certainly hasn't yet caught up. He started falling off the growth chart at age 7.

There are many factors associated with why my preemie hasn't had much catch up growth.
  1. IUGR, small for gestational age he was less than 1000grams. 10% of Children born small for gestational age have issues with catching up.
  2. BPD, difficulty in breathing leading to the baby no getting adequate nutrition. Our son burned more calories trying to breath than he was taking in.
  3. Long term steroid use. I'm not sure if this is a factor of not. Some doctors tell me it is, some (who are no longer our doctor) seem not to believe it is a factor. But it certainly makes sense. Steroids such as prendisolone affects children's growth and my child was on it for over two years!
  4. Genetics, simply put I'm not a giant and neither is my husband.
  5. Growth and Feeding issues even after my son started showing improvement from his BPD he struggledx with feeding issues for years and continue to do so.
I have read that 85% of premature infants have catch-up growth  and end up on the growth charts by age of two, however there  have been studies done on prematurity and growth that indicate that there are two times when a preemie can catch up in growth, by age of two or during adolescence.

So knowing all these facts sometimes we are faced with the decision (as I am now), your child DID NOT catch up at age two, his bone age is still 3 years behind so there is a possibility that he could catch up at adolescence. So, do hope and pray he catches up or start him former preemie growth hormones ?