Friday, March 15, 2013

Preemie Babies and Holidays

         As Spring approaches, along with Easter and Passover, many families enjoy having the whole family over for dinner and other traditional activities.  If you have just brought home a preemie baby, there are things you may not know that makes bringing a preemie home different than bringing a full-term newborn home.

            Two of my  preemie granddaughters were born in November and were in the NICU for about 3 weeks.  As a result, our holiday plans were changed.  Alexis was born Nov. 22 and her mother spent Thanksgiving with her in the NICU.  We were afraid we might not have her home by Christmas and cancelled some other plans for family get-togethers until well after the first of the year.

             If your baby is still in the hospital over the Spring holidays it can be a very emotional time for the parents, and other children in the family.  Mommy will probably spend part or most of the Holiday  with the baby, and the rest of the family may or may not be allowed into the NICU.  

          The most questions come up when you have brought a preemie baby home from the hospital just in time for the holidays.  Everyone wants to come see the baby, hold the baby, and kiss the baby.  What do you do?

        Preemies are much more susceptible to germs than full-term babies.  Although mothers have always been cautioned not to take the baby out into crowds for several weeks, I see more and more tiny newborns out at Wal-mart and other places during the holidays.  You definitely do NOT want to do this with your preemie.  Here is some good information from the University of Wisconsin Medical School website. 
”When your baby gets home there will be many well meaning people who want to come and visit. Some things to keep in mind are:
  • People with colds or the flu will have to visit at a later date.
  • Your premature baby will be more sensitive to stimulation and may do better if not held or only held for a limited time by one person.
  • You can limit the number of people who visit at one time and limit the amount of time they visit.
  • Don't let people drink hot liquids or smoke and hold the baby at the same time.
  • Remember you are your baby's best advocate. It is okay to say that your doctor said it is not good to have visitors until your baby is a little older. “
         It is also recommended that you not take your baby out in public places for about three months after you bring him home.  This can be a very long time to be “stuck” inside with a baby, so you need to find some help. Hopefully your own parents, or other trusted friends will be available to watch the baby for a couple of hours so that you can do your , or just get out for a little while.  Mommy and Daddy still need a little time for themselves too, so try to get someone to watch the baby for just a little bit, take a walk, go get a cup of coffee, or just spend some time on the couch together.

         As far as Holiday get-togethers, it will probably be best to wait until next year.  By that time everyone will be able to participate. 

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