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What do you think of when you hear the word isolation?
Being alone, perhaps?
When you are a preemie parent, this word isolation takes on a whole new meaning. It can be hard for others to understand sometimes, but we want to try to help.
Most parents of preemies have to deal with being isolated in some shape or form. For us preemie parents, isolation is a time where you can’t take your child to any public places aside from doctor’s appointments.
We brought our daughter home as flu and RSV season were beginning. Scary times, but isolation was something we could do to help protect our baby. Graham’s Foundation has a helpful post about protecting preemies from RSV and wintertime illnesses that I recommend any parent check out as these are no fun for any newborn.
You also have to be isolated within your own home.
You have to limit your visitors. Every child is different, so everyone is given specific medical guidance on what isolation looks like for them. You certainly can’t have anyone visit if they have been sick or exposed to any illnesses.
For us, isolation meant that we couldn’t have any children around. My daughter couldn’t meet her cousins who were so excited to meet her for months. We couldn’t go out as a family – no shopping, no restaurants, nothing. We really had to plan ahead because if one of us was home alone with the baby, we couldn’t just run out to the store if say we ran out of diapers. It meant for first holidays we weren’t able to do our usual family traditions and had to think outside the box.
When we got home after going out, we would immediately hand sanitize (babyganics foaming was my favorite, it’s very gentle on sensitive skin), change our clothes, and then wash our hands with soap and water before touching our daughter. Of course we would take our shoes off first and we would as anyone we allowed to visit to do all of these things too. We didn’t have this sign, but I would have gotten it if I had seen it at the time.
This time period was hard and stressful. It wasn’t fun to tell a family member, ‘sorry, you can’t visit because your coworker is sick’. We were lucky that those around us were very understanding and we only had to experience isolation for our first winter. Some preemies have to experience this season for multiple years.
Please be patient if someone you know is dealing with isolation.
It’s not that they don’t want to see you, but that they have been advised by medical professionals that it may not be safe for their baby. Their sweet baby who has probably already experienced a series of challenges just to get home.
Think about other ways you can offer support.
Even if you can’t offer physical company, there are still ways you can show your support to a family in isolation.
Call, text, videochat – whatever works for the family, just reach out and see! It’s nice to know that others are thinking of you and your baby.
If you want to share a gift, send it through the mail
It meant the world to me when I received a package from one of my dear friends with gifts for my little one.
Drop off a meal
Even if you can’t visit, you could call and drop off a meal at their doorstep. You could even arrange delivery if you live too far away to swing by.
We know you want to see our baby, we want to show our baby off too! When we are given the go ahead we will let you know. No amount of asking or pressuring will change that unfortunately.
What have been your experiences with isolation? Any tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!
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