The two instructions we were given about a baby as small as Miss Maya Rose were:
- keep her warm; small babies may not regulate temperature as well as larger ones and have little body fat for insulation; and
- feed her every two hours around the clock to minimize newborn weight loss.
Bonus recommendation: Our midwife, Erin, said that, even though Maya was a full term (more than 37 weeks gestation) baby, she would like to see us do something like the "kangaroo care" recommended for premature infants. This means lots of skin-to-skin contact, exclusive breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and carrying her in a sling a lot (Oh, yeah. Twist my arm and make me cuddle my baby a lot.).
The idea is that all the close contact helps regulate a baby's temperature, heart rate, and breathing. It's also believed to be good for neurological development. For both pre-term and term infants, it helps baby thrive.
I recently learned from my aunt, an operating room nurse, that if a baby was born Maya's size in her hospital, they'd have admitted her and not released her until she hit 5 pounds--even though she was healthy. Eeek. That's got to be a huge blow to parent-baby bonding and establishment of breastfeeding. It's now among the many reasons I'm grateful Maya was born at home.