When Ava was in the NICU, it was important that she was swaddled so not that she was warm, but so her surroundings recreated the environment of my womb.
Preemie care is overly important. In my experience, I was given the opportunity to take a class at the hospital, before I was discharged, about preemie care. I didn't know what to expect, but I am so glad I went and learned about how to care for Ava and what to watch for in her signs of distress.
The thing I always remember when I see any baby (full term, preemie, etc.) is where their hands are. I was taught that the signs of a distressed baby is when their hands are stretched out away from their body and like they want to give you a high-five. It may look cute, but that baby is not comfy. I remember when the Octuplet mom was on TV and showing herself to the world via Dr. Phil, she went in the NICU showing the audience each baby. She would approach each isolette, say hello to the babies and reach her hands into them. She would stroke their heads... and immediately their hands will flail out and fingers would be stretched out into the high-five stance. This made me so mad. How could a mother of so many children, especially the EIGHT that were currently in the hospital-- and not get a clue to how to care for them?! Did not any of the nurses let her know this. I think not. (End of that rant!)
Kangaroo care was also very important. This is when you hold and bond with your baby skin-to-skin. To read more about it, click here. This is for mommies and daddies. When your baby in the NICU, this is the closest you get to be with your baby and I remembered sensing a calmness from Ava. It's also very important to hold your baby 'kangaroo' style when they are getting their feedings through their tube, so they associate feedings with warmth and mommy/daddy.
There are lots of other key things to preemie care, but these have been the ones on my mind and the ones I associate with Ava as a baby.