There is a difference between a premature baby and a low weight baby born after completion of 36 weeks.
36-40 weeks babies are due anytime as if God is preparing the mother to be to get labor pains anytime & to keep her bag ready & not to go for long drives as labor pains come unannounced.
Baby born at 36 weeks is not premature but it can be a Low Birth Baby.
There are parameters to assess the maturity levels of a born baby:
Crying just after birth bringing the house down, read the labor room and the wards!
Color of skin-pinkish (check the palms)
Reflexes like holding the finger of doctor/nurse tightly
Suckling reflex-to be checked by putting a clean finger into mouth and baby starts to suckle by reflex action
Abdominal reflexes- criss-cross over abdomen & baby reacts
Tickle the sole of feet & the baby responds
If all of the above are positive in a 2 kg baby, it is a Low Birth baby & Not Premature ( may be born at 35 weeks, just a week before time )
Premature babies need a special Nursery ( NICU) , need help to breathe and get feeds by tube, an incubator to maintain body temperature & 24 hours of nursing care.
This baby is active but weighs less than 2 kg.
We can give the baby to the mother.
7 steps to help a baby grow to a normal range of weight within 3 months or maybe earlier.
1) Encourage Breastfeeding to ward off risks of gastric & intestinal infections got through bottle feeding.
If the top feed is a must, use a dropper & try to store extracted milk from the breast.
2) Maintain body temperature according to seasons.
In June, no need to wrap the baby in layers & layers of blankets (yes, it still happens in our Rural areas)
3) Maintain hygiene, especially keep the areas with folds like neck (though all babies have small necks), nappy areas, fingers, and toes. Do give a polite massage but bathe after an hour. Some rural women keep rubbing mustard oil every day, day after day without giving a bath.
A daily bath can be given with warm water or proper sponging can be done in a closed room.
4) No Exposure to outside air to avoid baby breathing polluted air.
Keep the room clean and fresh.
Use Air Purifiers.
Avoid Infections including Chest Infections by maintaining Basics in Cleanliness.
5) Minimum Visitors- it may sound Rude to avoid people 'who wish well for the baby' but spend the entire day as if it is a picnic or an outing.
Both Mother and baby need Bonding time for 6 weeks as written in the books or it is a Custom to Send New Mother to her parental home.
Never Tire the Mother With Household Activities because Looking after Baby is a 24 Hours Job
The stomach of the baby is tiny to hold extra milk.
The baby may feel hungry every four.
Accept it that the LOW BIRTH baby is hungry more often
6) Restful Babies grow at a rapid rate.
They Sleep for 20 hours + out of 24 hours in a day.
7) The Diet of a mother has to be high protein and simple.
Simple proteins and simple carbs (no maida, noodles, pizza, burgers or street foods, packaged or processed foods, and healthy fats like butter and a Katori of nuts.
Milk & dairy products are simple proteins but avoid FULL Cream Milk as the digestive capacities of both mother & child are not so strong during the post-partum period.
Daal-Roti-Chaawal-Subji as per taste and regions but Avoid Spices.
Encourage Breastfeeding and make sure that the Mother is Taking Iron-Folic Acid -Calcium Supplements too (most of the mothers stop supplements they were taking during the Antenatal period)