Preterm babies have a great deal of trouble maintaining their own body temperature. To assist with this, we will often keep them in a device called an incubator. This is made out of clear plastic and provides a heated, humidified environment for your baby.
You can also assist with your baby’s temperature maintenance through skin-to-skin contact (sometimes called Kangaroo Care). Depending on the baby’s overall condition, he or she may be allowed to lie on the mother’s or father’s bare chest. You will transfer heat from your body to the baby’s body. This close contact between baby and parents can be helpful to all involved.
As babies mature, their skin and the fat under their skin develop, and they are able to tolerate lower air temperatures. One step toward discharge will be the day when your baby is taken out of the incubator to control their own temperature. This typically occurs beyond 34 weeks of development. Most babies do quite well when we try them out of the incubator for the first time. We also monitor their body temperature to make sure they are successfully maintaining it.