CARE OF LBW NEWBORN IN COMMUNITY: PERSONAL
EXPERIENCE AND INNOVATION
DR. NEHAL VAIDYA
Care of LBW newborn is a challenging task in India. The Indian neonatologists have to
deal with economical and social problems of the LBW’s family apart from medical
challenges. Also, there are a lot of myths both on the side of family members and at the
level of GPs.
Here is some of the experience that I want to share.
Our unit is Level 3 care neonatal intensive care unit, located at Bhuj, a district head
quarter of kachchh. Our unit is working since past 3 years. We are the pioneer of such
care in the area. We have saved babies weighting up to 900gms. We give surfactant and
also partial parenteral nutrition.
If babies are more than 28 wks maturity and weighting more than 1000 gms most of them
will be saved in our unit.
Here are some of the policies of our unit which we believe are innovative and making
difference in the end result
Such babies are usually shifted to mother on 7th or 8th day of life. Before shifting, we
explain the relatives how to keep away from germs. We ask them to buy soap or
sterillium and emphasize hand washing each time before touching the baby. Also we
tell them to ask all the relatives to not to come to “see” the baby.
They are asked to buy a white khadi cloth [abt 3 mtrs] to keep the baby. We are
very strict regarding use of this cloth. Nothing else is tolerated.
The cloth helps a lot in keeping baby clean in our view.
The parents are also asked to buy a digital thermometer. Mother and care taker are
explained the importance of THERMONEUTRAL ENVIRONMENT [AND NOT ONLY
HYPOTHERMIA]. They are asked to maintain baby’s temp between 97 to 98 F. if temp
is less mother is required to give skin to skin heat. If temp is more baby is kept open.
Temperature is re assessed after 30 min .The temp is measured in axilla.
Mother and the care taker is explained the method of tube feeding and the risks of the
same. Most of our babies are discharged with tube in situ .relatives are told about
aspiration technique and daily increments. we use mother’s milk only.
BABIES WT IS NOT THE DISCHARGE CRITERIA. We look at the stability of vitals,
skill and alertness of the relatives, distance from our place.
Relatives are asked to come immediately if
Baby’s color changes to blue
Feed aspirate is more than 25% of the last given feed
Temperature remains low or high despite proper measures.
When relatives know importance of maintaining the vitals they come back immediately if
any thing goes wrong.
WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR COMMUNITY?
We feel if above policies are applied on larger scale, results would be far better.
For care of LBW in community
Every mother should know tube feeding. This saves a lot as hospital stay is drastically
Every mother should have a digital thermometer. (Even our illiterate mothers learn 97 98
Advantages of digital thermometer
No observer variation despite less accuracy
No chance of brakeage as it is plastic made.
Babies are followed up every week. Their tube is changed. Vitals are assessed.
Tube is removed only when baby is able to suck proper amount of milk orally. We
ask the mother to give trial and then we aspirate immediately. If amount is the desired
one, the tube is removed.
We highly prefer tube feeding over spoon/cup feeding .the advantage we see are
Sure and measured delivery – sure wt gain(no spillage possibility like cup or spoon)
Less consuming on tired mother- tube feeding takes only 5-7 min while spoon may take
30 – 40 min
However if the family members insist on spoon feeding, we explain the proper technique
and ask them to come back if baby urinates less than 8 times a day.
We practically show them the difference of wt gain on tube and on cup. If the baby keeps
gaining on spoon or cup we continue the same.
Most of our babies are off tube when they reach 1800 gms to 2000 gms
We see that relatives learn to measure temp by themselves so same can be helpful at