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How Tender Touch Helps Your Preemie

YOU are your preemie's anchor while she's in NICU, growing strong enough to come home and join the family. Your presence and touch lowers her stress—a key factor that affects her growth and development.

Delicate preemie babies—those born before 37 weeks gestation—need as much help as possible to survive and catch up.

Tender touch and skincare helps your preemie become her strongest. 

Suddenly becoming the parent of a preemie means you have to rally your resilience, your partner and family bond, and your own self-care to manage this intense new situation. 

You may feel everything from relief to despair to hope...and every one of those powerful emotions are normal, natural, and expected.  

BEB Organic skincare products – Luxury, health-filled skincare for preemies – premature baby - BEB Organic Bubbly Wash - BEB Organic Silky Cream - BEB Organic Healing Gel - BEB Organic Nourishing Oil - BEB Organic Diaper Balm – Kim Walls, Preemie Skincare Expert

Sometimes, it’s hard to even remember the birth.

For many parents, the long-awaited birth was probably not the one you imagined, and even less the one you planned for. Your baby may have been whisked away to NICU before you even got to look into their eyes. 

So when you get to their incubator in the NICU, your first sight of your child could be of them hooked up, with needles and tubes all over the place, maybe with their eyes shielded from the light...and the sight of you.

Depending on how premature they were, this tiny person you're waiting to take home may be far from the image of the pink newborns you expected. 

Preemies are undeveloped, so even though they're now in an earthly air environment, they can look like an other-world being: their skin can be dark and wrinkled; they're covered with lanugo—a fine downy hair that protects in water; they're so tiny; they probably don't interact. 

You can feel both scared and excited—excited to be with your baby, but scared to hurt them by passing on infection or interfering with their care.

And your partner,—who may have felt powerless during the sudden birth drama—can feel the same as well as wonder what their role is or whether they have a place in care or decision-making. 

And each of you may deal with all of this differently.


 Touchy Time

What preemies need most is time and mom. Depending on how early your baby was born, even your voice may be overstimulating. They may not be able to be touched at first because their skin is so thin it can be damaged.

But your presence and your scent can reassure them. 

When their skin is thick enough, you can touch their feet, back, hand, or head. By now they're strong enough to deal with stimulation from talking.

Now is the time every parent has a role in bonding, strengthening, and healing. 

Touch connects you to baby, and baby to you. Now that they're capable, they will long for your gentle touch. Research shows that a parent's loving touch helps a preemie

●  lowers heart rate
●  lowers blood pressure
●  lowers cortisol (stress hormone) level
●  raises the level of our feel-good hormone (oxytocin)
●  helps create touch memories
●  increases weight gain by 47%
●  increases motor skills
●  helps preemies move more easily between different “states”—quiet sleep, active sleep, drowsy, quiet alert, active alert, crying
●  helps preemies “orient” – turn toward a stimulus like touch or sound
●  helps preemies be more awake and active
●  helps preemies deal better with the pain of needles and procedures in NICU
●  helps preemies deal with normal activities without becoming stressed (​habituation​)
●  helps preemies learn about their bodies and where they are in space 
●  helps preemies learn about the person giving them their massage – you!


Even in tests done 6-12 months later, such positive results from caring touch showed these premature infants still measured above their peers who were not frequently touched.

 The baby care products used in the NICU may not be the best support for your little one at this vulnerable time.

Every nurse, doctor, and attendant wants their babies in NICU to go home as soon as possible. But the skincare products commonly used are often full of chemicals that help absorption, give a nice scent, or preserve the product's stability.

That's fine for strong adults, but these chemicals can be toxic to the still-developing biology of vulnerable babies.

Manufacturers don’t have to claim everything they put in these products—including and especially, artificial fragrances— so we cannot know for sure how safe they are.

Chemicals that make your baby smell sweet as bubblegum easily pass through their thin skin and can disrupt their still-developing

  • hormone balance
  • digestion
  • immune system
  • nervous system
  • brain
  • essential pH balance of the skin that protects her

That’s Where You Come In

Knowing what you can do to uplift and protect your little one helps increase your confidence as a parent in supporting your baby’s health. 

Using organic-based skincare products not only nurtures through your touch as you apply them, they can help increase your preemie’s health with each pat or stroke of your hand. 

Products like BEB Organics made with pure essential oils help avoid negative effects from chemicals.

Such products not only clean, calm, and soothe in the gentlest and healthiest of ways, their ingredients can also help manage infection, inflammation, or dryness. 

While Your Baby’s In NICU

Amidst the noise of machines and attendants, your voice is the one that calms your wee one. Your scent is the one they know. Your touch is what they long for most. 

You and the NICU nurses are a team. The rule of thumb is: ALWAYS ASK. The other rule of thumb is: YOUR INTUITION MATTERS. 

Ask them when your little one is ready for you to bring in your own skincare products. Then you can: 

  • Wear pure essential oils that signal “Mommy’s here” 

Let's remember, too, that studies show mothers can identify their baby by smell within a couple of days after birth.

And babies respond to their mother's scent. Mom’s scent on her clothing has shown to calm a crying baby—some hospitals allow a piece of mom’s clothing in preemie incubators or bassinets for just this reason.

Scents matter, so use ones made from pure ingredients that also help soothe and calm.  A small drop of soothing essential oil (orange, chamomile, rose) on your wrist or hands combines your personal scent with one that helps the stress reduction that helps your preemie's growth and development. 

When you use fragrance-free skincare for yourself – like our ​BEB Organic products – the smell won’t interfere with the calming scent of your own body. Certain ingredients, like pure organic rose oil, may leave a light smell that mingles with your own, helping reduce stress and increase relaxation.

But, be careful! Even the healthiest smells aren’t helpful if you introduce too many, too soon.

Delicate preemies often need to grow a lot more before they can tolerate scents.

    •  Apply natural lotions

    When you are in NICU, silky organic lotions help keep skin from drying out (baby’s and yours). Such lotions and creams provide nutrients along with your loving touch, bringing you closer while supporting their growth. 
      • Use bathtime products that keep chemicals away

      An organic baby wash will prevent chemicals from soaking into your baby’s porous skin, but still keep them smelling “fresh as a baby.”

      Soothing scents, gentle cleansing, and pH-balanced organic washes protect their largest organ—the skin. Vibrant skin–even while it’s still developing—protects baby from outside toxins while it works to control their internal body temperature.


      5 Top Tips For Enhancing Preemie Health That Both Parents Can Do 

      1. Therapeutic Touch

      Hold your baby’s head and feet while applying a gentle pressure to help them feel quietly contained. Preemies who were held like this
          • lowered their breathing and heart rates
          • slept better
          • improved their coordination for breathing, sucking, and swallowing
          • increased their ability to engage with their environment 
        1. Kangaroo Care (skin-to-skin time)

        Get as much bare skin connection as you can by putting your diapered but not dressed baby against your bare chest. All babies benefit from this, but for preemies, skin-to-skin time (STS) matters even more because STS  
          • benefits continue once you go home
          • enhances breastfeeding
          • may contribute to brain development
          • infuses baby’s microbiome with mom’s protective bacteria
          • stabilizes breathing and heart rates
          • improves oxygen saturation rates
          • helps regulate baby’s body temperature
          • conserves baby’s calories and promotes growth 
        1. Bathtime Wash  

        Good skin hygiene and cleanliness promote health. Bath time can be the blissful moment they return to the soft water world they knew in the womb. Use gentle washes scented with essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances. Synthetic fragrances are made from toxic chemicals that challenge your baby's delicate body. 
        1. Skin Creams

        Brand new baby skin is still adjusting to the air environment and can become dry, uncomfortable, which lowers the skin’s defensive ability. Soothe your little one and protect them at the same time by only using moisturizers that are organic-based and scented with essential oil. The added benefit? Essential oils in the cream can also calm her…and you. 
        1. Diapers and Rash Prevention

        Because preemie skin is so thin and sensitive, it is more vulnerable to rashes, including common diaper rash. Choose a diaper balm that is thick enough to be protective, soft enough to spread without damaging delicate skin, and made with organic ingredients that feed the skin while soothing it.

        When we give love to others, we also give it to ourselves.

        As you sit with your baby, try to remember to breathe in hope with each inhale, and breathe out fear on the exhale.  

        Each time you apply healthy products on your baby, you’re also applying them to yourself and supporting your own healing from birth.

        The encouraging words you whisper into the incubator are also going into your brain…let them soothe you.  

        As mom, your body is trying to heal from a birth that you probably didn’t expect

        And healing takes time.

        Despite the need to be with your baby in the hospital, you must get rest and nutrition. 

        Your partner is trying to recover from a difficult birth where they may have felt helpless, and now have the added responsibilities of caring for the family. 

        Your entire family needs some rest, peace, food, and laughter to lighten the burden and increase personal fortitude, and every family can decide how they do that best.



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