Published On: Thu, Jan 2nd, 2014

Caring For Very Low Weight Babies

At the time of birth, a baby is measured for its weight and this is known as birth weight. This birth weight is determined by factors such as the following:

  • Health status of the parents
  • The care and nutrition that the mother has received during pregnancy
  • Gestational age of the infant and
  • The genetic factors and environmental factors of the family

On an average, babies are said to be around 3.4 kilos and thereafter, the body weight increases anywhere between 3 and 7% in the next few days. However, some babies also are born with very low birth weight. Such very low weight babies need a lot of care.

Low Weight Babies

Low Weight Babies

Why is specific care important?

Among other things, babies with low birth weight are said to have higher chances of developing problems and health concerns such as:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cognitive deficiencies and
  • Even lower immunity.

All the above problems can manifest themselves even at a later point in time and in turn, cause other health problems as well.

How to take care of low weight babies?

Normally, low birth weight babies are said to be less than 2500 grams and more than 2000 grams. Depending on the weight, some babies may need to be put into a NICU or neonatal intensive care unit in order to get professional medical attention. But if the baby is deemed fit to be discharged into the care of his or her parents, then specific care procedures can be followed at home too.

Some things to do

Parents of very low weight babies should ensure that they follow the instructions given to them by their doctors when it comes to their infants. Other things to pay attention to are:

  • Adequate breast milk to be given to the baby
  • Preserving heat around the baby since he or she is likely to have lower-than-needed body fat
  • Gentle massages for the baby
  • Keeping the baby in healthy and germ free conditions since his or her immune system may be weaker than normal and
  • Watching out for signs and symptoms of possible health problems.

Some of these signs and symptoms could be lethargy, listlessness, fever, pallor of the skin and so on. It is also helpful to make regular visits to your doctor so your baby can get extra special care.

Importance of physical contact

The WHO has come up with guidelines on optimal feeding for LBW or low birth weight babies. One of the highlights of this is something known as kangaroo mother care. This focuses on the need for skin to skin contact between baby and mother.

Kangaroo mother Care

Kangaroo mother Care

Frequent breastfeeding and placing the baby in close contact with the mother is extremely important. This is a very practical thing to do and can go a long way in helping the baby deal with many of the problems that arise because of low birth weight.

Perhaps the best thing for an expectant mother to do is to take adequate care to ensure that her baby is born healthy and of normal weight. But should the baby be born with low birth weight then following the doctor’s advice and maintaining frequent and intensive contact is important. 

About the Author

- Shantini Diaz has been associated with Abhishek Solutions for over 5 years now and is a part of the brilliant 4S team as we call it, consisting of 4 brilliant female minds who provide their services to us, all starting with the alphabet \”S\” hence the 4S quadruple. An MBA by education, and an experienced Operations Manager in reputed public limited pharmacy in Coimbatore

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