Guidelines for having visitors and going out with your preemie

Babies who’ve been in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are often at higher risk of getting an infection than other infants. So you need to be careful where you take your baby and who comes to visit her.

You don’t need to stay in your house alone for the first months after your baby comes home. But you do need to take special care.

Medical staff may tell you to:

  • Limit the number of visitors to your home.
  • Limit the number of people who touch your baby.
  • Avoid taking your baby to crowded places, such as shopping malls and grocery stores

If you do have visitors:

  • Make sure they wash their hands before touching your baby.
  • Don’t let adults or children who are sick, have a fever, or have been exposed to an illness near your baby.
  • Tell visitors they can’t smoke in your house. If they’ve smoked, have them wash their hands and change their shirt before holding your baby.

By all means, take your baby for a walk outside in comfortable weather, and go visit friends and relatives. Just make sure that your baby’s going to a home that’s smoke-free and illness-fre

What do I need to know?

Breastfeeding is great for all newborns, but it’s even more important if your baby arrives early.
That’s because your body will automatically produce milk that’s specially designed to nourish your premature baby, with extra calories, vitamins, and protein.

What’s more, the live cells in breast milk that protect babies from infection can be even more important for premature babies: Preemies face a higher risk of infection because their immune systems are particularly immature. You will find artificial formulas and supplements made just for preemies, but they can’t provide the antibodies and other protective factors that are in your breast milk and are so beneficial to a fragile premature infant.

Whether or not your baby is ready to nurse at your breast right away will depend on his gestational age and overall health. At many hospitals it’s standard practice to start off feeding very premature babies expressed breast milk through a nasogastric (NG) tube (known as gavage). This is to make sure the baby gets as much nourishment as possible if he’s too immature to suckle from breast or bottle.
You’ll work closely with the hospital staff overseeing your baby’s care on a plan to feed your pumped breast milk to your baby. Many preemies simply aren’t ready to start breastfeeding in the hospital right away, and won’t be released until they’ve started to gain weight from breast- and/or bottle-feeding.

Once your baby is able to start nursing at the breast, be prepared to nurse frequently, although preemies may not take in much milk at each feeding until they’re closer to term. For this reason, you’ll need to pump after feedings to keep up your milk production as well as have milk for any necessary supplementary feedings. You may need to use different breastfeeding holds for your preemie. Hospital staff, including lactation professionals, may be helpful when you start breastfeeding.



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