After the highly electronic and noisy environment in NICU, your baby needs a quiet and calm atmosphere at home. Some basic facts you need know about preterm babies to take care of them them at home are – weaker immunity, more feeding time and more attention to their weight along with temperature maintenance. So you need to be more attentive for their nursing care at home.
Here are some tips which will help you in the first few weeks:
Temperature Maintenance: Babies in NICU remain in controlled temperature. So they require optimal room temperature at home also for the initial few days for better adaptation. Avoid keeping the baby’s cot in front of the door or windows. In fact, try to keep the baby near the mother on the same cot. Maintain room temperature somewhere between 24 to 26 degrees celsius.
Limit visitors: Visitors in the baby’s room should be restricted. Only primary caregivers should be allowed for initial several days. People should only be allowed to touch the baby after washing their hands, to avoid infections. Visitors with any kind of communicable diseases should be strictly prohibited.
Limit Hospital Visits: Visits to the hospital should also be limited. The hospital waiting time should be kept to a minimum. Request the doctor to make separate arrangement of a waiting lounge to minimise contact with adults or paediatric patients. Try to visit any specialized mother and child hospital.
Avoid Public Places: Most of the neonatologists recommend not visiting any public place with preemies. Avoid places with loud noise, heavy dust and smoke.
Sleep on back: Baby’s success at feeding and sleeping is important to his/her health. Don’t disturb you preemie while sleeping except at feeding time. He may be sleeping more than a full term baby. It will help him grow faster. All preemies like other babies should be put to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Practice Kangaroo mother care: Enjoy skin to skin contact with your baby in these intial weeks. Learn this wonderful art before being discharged. Practice in the hospital for first few days to allay any fear of KMC. At ambient room temperature, dress your infant with only a diaper and place the baby on your chest,turning the head to one side. It will enhance your bonding with the baby and promote breast feeding along with faster weight gain. Fathers can also practice KMC.