When a baby is born preterm, parents face challenges they didn't expect—including some they didn't even realize existed. For instance, you might have known that many preemies don't wear clothes in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), but did you know that some can't even wear diapers? But now there's a new option: a first-of-its-kind flat diaper from Pampers that allows better access to these tiny babies for doctors and nurses, and protects preemies' delicate skin.
An alternate diapering solution
Why do preemies need alternatives to traditional diapers? "Because a premature baby still needs to develop, it is important that he or she sleeps with minimal environmental stimulation, such as noise and light—or ill-fitting diapers," Amy Wiford, Pampers Nurse Specialist and a NICU nurse for 10 years, tells Parents.com. "It is also important to support proper developmental positioning, with less disruption via minimal handling."
Without any elastic, tape, or fragrance, the diaper is designed to lay flat under the baby to maximize skin exposure for treatments like phototherapy for jaundice. "Conditions that might make it difficult for a preemie—especially extremely low birth-weight infants—to wear a regular diaper include Hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice), abdominal defects and surgeries, and severe skin breakdown," Wiford says, adding that a flat diaper can help to fulfill unmet needs of preemies in the NICU with these types of conditions, by promoting open-air healing as well as giving healthcare professionals better access to care for complications due to birth defects and/or post-operative care.
Supporting the "littlest fighters"
Prematurity has increased for the second year in a row; the preterm birth rate in the U.S. is now 9.8 percent. "Many people don't know this, but preterm birth is a national health crisis," Wiford says. "Thankfully, advances in medical science have allowed many of these babies to thrive in the NICU." Support for preemies is crucial for research, education, and advocacy programs for these tiny babies and their parents.
For Prematurity Awareness Month this November, Pampers has partnered with March of Dimes to donate a box of flat diapers to every NICU in the country. If you have a baby in the NICU and are interested in flat diapers, which are only available in hospitals, ask your nurse or healthcare professionals if they're right for your little one.
Check out Pampers' new video on these littlest fighters featuring Rachel Platten's "Fight Song"—we dare you not to cry!
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And if you're interested in giving back, share a story about your baby's fighting spirit on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #LittlestFighters until November 17 and Pampers will donate $5 to the March of Dimes—or subscribe for any new Pampers on Amazon Prime from November 11-17 and Pampers will donate $10.