Making Decisions About Home Care

Was Your Baby Born Prematurely? How To Help Strengthen Their Lungs Once They Come Home

by Mae Ferguson

If your baby was born prematurely and was on the ventilator, there's a possibility that they'll develop bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or BPD, which a form of chronic lung disease. This condition is caused when the lungs are damaged due to extended periods of time on a ventilator. One way to reduce dependency on the ventilator, and to protect your preemie's delicate lungs, is to use liquid ventilation. 

This type of ventilation places a specially-designed liquid into your preemie's lungs to help keep them open and to allow them to heal. Once your preemie is home, you'll still need to help them develop stronger lungs. By strengthening your preemie's lungs, you can help increase their lung capacity so that they can fight off future lung-related illnesses. Here are four simple exercises you can play with your preemie to help strengthen their lungs once they're a bit older.

Take Them Swimming

You might not know this, but water exercises are a great way to improve lung capacity. That's because lungs take shorter breaths while in the water. That means your child will need to work just a bit harder to get the air their need, but not enough to make it dangerous for them. While the weather is warm, get in the pool and splash around with your child. They'll enjoy the water, and you'll know that their lungs are getting some much-needed exercise.

Blow on a Feather

If you're trying to build up your child's lung capacity, it's time to grab a feather, or two. Clear a space on a table and place the feathers on the flat surface. Sit next to your child and encourage them to blow on the feathers. Have them practice moving the feathers around with their breath. You can also sit on the opposite side of the table and make a game out of blowing the feathers back and forth to each other.

Have a Good Laugh

One of the most fun ways to help your child increase their lung capacity is to simply have a good laugh. Once a day, put a funny movie on the television and sit down with your child. Spend some time laughing as loud as you both can get. The laughter will help strengthen your child's lungs. Don't just stop at the movies though. You can find other fun ways to encourage laughter in your child.

Let Them Make Music

Finally, if you're trying to increase your child's lung capacity, let them make music. Go to a party supply store and buy your child some music makers, such as harmonicas and recorders. Encourage your child to make music with them several times a day. Buy a few and have a family concert a couple of times a week.

For more information, contact a company like Liquid Ventilation Team.