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Home Care Tips For Low Birth Weight Babies

Home Care Tips For Low Birth Weight Babies

Every mother dreams of giving birth to a healthy baby. But what if you deliver a baby with low birth weight? It is true that the nourishment and the safety of the child may bother you even if it is not your first delivery. Endless doubts arise in your mind. Don’t worry. You are not the first mother going through this situation. This article will help you to find answers to most of the questions or doubts that worry you.

Low weight babies  weigh less than 2500 gm . You may feel worried about caring for your smaller than average baby at home.

Here are some tips to help you cope:

Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is the best way of nourishing your baby. Let him feed as often as he wants and wake him for a feed if he sleeps more than four or five hours at night. Breast milk promotes the adequate growth of low birth weight babies.

How Can I Help My Low Birth Weight Baby With Breastfeeding?

Due to poor suck- swallow coordination, weak suck reflex and many other factors, the baby finds it  hard  to breast feed .

  • You can definitely try to breastfeed the baby if the baby is above 1.8 Kg . Squeeze out a few drops of milk to the baby’s lips and encourage him patiently for suckling. At first, you should give an extra support by squeezing your breast lightly while the baby suck.
  • If direct breast feeding doesn’t work, you can try cup feeding.If the baby is born before 34 weeks, he can’t suckle sufficiently. In that case, the baby can be fed expressed breast milk of the mother with a small, sterilized cup.Feed the baby every two hours till the baby gains his normal healthy state.
How To Accelerate Weight Gain In A Baby Born With A Low Weight?

Watching the weight gain of the baby born with low weight is of high priority. More frequent breastfeeding is the only way to attain adequate weight. If the breast milk is too low, in spite of trying out a different method to increase the breast milk, you can go for formula feeding according to the doctor’s instruction. Some babies require multivitamins and minerals as well. Your doctor will be able to advise you  if your baby needs vitamin supplements.

Co-sleeping: For the first few months, it would be wise to let your baby sleep next to you. You could also choose to have your baby’s cot right next to your bed in order to make him more comfortable.

Keep your baby warm: Hypothermia or rapid loss of heat is common in LBW babies, as they have less subcutaneous fat. Make sure he’s warm when he sleeps, but take great care that he doesn’t get too hot. Tuck the blankets firmly in around him so he’s unlikely to wriggle down under them.

How Can I Keep Low Birth Weight Baby Warm?

Low birth weight babies have  trouble in keeping up their body temperature. The heat loss from the baby’s body can be restricted by:

  • Additional covers or any additional cloth preferably made of cotton should be used to cover both the mother and the infant
  • Never leave the baby in an open room (room with open doors and windows)
  • There ought to be an additional warmth source in the room where the baby with low birth weight is taken care of.
  • Never attempt to bathe the baby without the doctor’s instruction
  • Make sure the head of the baby is well covered. This is on the grounds that more than 90% of the heat loss occurs through the head when it left uncovered
  • Never undress the baby completely to change the diaper.
  • Skin-to-skin contact: Breastfeeding, massages, and close contact will help your baby to feel secure and help you feel more confident as a new mother.
What Is Kangaroo Mother Care?

Kangaroo mother care is a method of care practiced on babies who are usually born preterm. It i called after the way that kangaroos care for their young, has been appeared to be a great method for watching over preterm and low birth weight babies. It includes holding an infant in skin-to-skin contact, close to 24 hours a day,throughout day and night, inclined and upright on the chest of the mother, or another capable individual of the family (preferably father)if the mother can’t do it constantly due to some health issues.

What Are The Advantages Of Kangaroo mother Care?
  • As the infant is kept in skin-to-skin contact it gives effectual warmth and temperature control
  • The infant sustains better and puts on weight all the more quickly (so it grows more muscle and fat to keep it warm)
  • The benefit of KMC can be given by different individuals from the family if the mother is not well or in the necessity to have a break
 How Long Should Kangaroo Mother Care Continue?

At the point when the mother and child are OK with the procedure, KMC can proceed for whatever length of time that the mother thinks she can do, or until the baby completes the term (40 weeks) if the baby is preterm or the infant’s weight achieves 2,500 gm.  What’s more, when the infant has had enough and ‘done’ of being in KMC, it begins to speak with the mother in its own particular manners, by wriggling, by moving restlessly, trying to throw the limbs out of the wrapping and by crying . 

Visitors: Don’t expose your baby to infections if you can help it. Request visitors to reschedule their visit if they have a cold, cough or other infection, or not to go too near or touch him until they’re better. LBW babies are at higher risk of catching respiratory tract infections.

Babysitters: Avoid leaving your low birth weight baby with a maid or at daycare centre till he is a bit older.

Regular monitoring: Low birth weight babies need to be monitored regularly. Speak to your doctor right away, if your baby has any of the following symptoms:

  • jaundice or a yellowish tinge to the skin
  • laboured or irregular breathing
  • lethargic or slow feeding from the breast
  • fever
  • listless and drowsy

Regular visits with your baby’s doctor: Low-birth weight babies may have a greater risk of developmental problems. They need regular monitoring for height, weight, head circumference. Vision and hearing assessment has to be done at specified time.

Followup at neurodevelopmental clinic may be required.

Ensure your baby’s gets all his vaccines on time — most LBW babies have the same immunisation schedule as normal birth weight babies.

Dr. Â Sonali More
MBBS, MD
Consultant Neonatology
Pediatric & Neonatology
Chaitanya Hospital