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Mouth Care for NICU Infants Using Colostrum/Breast Milk

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Mouth Care for NICU Infants Using Colostrum/Breast Milk

Mouth care is important for your baby. Not only does it feel good, but your colostrum/breast milk can help prevent infection when it is used for mouth care. When a baby breastfeeds, his/her mouth is coated with milk and he starts to absorb important nutrients and immune cells. Providing mouth care with colostrum/breast milk is also an excellent way to introduce your baby to the taste and smell of your milk.

Pump and save all colostrum even if it is only a few drops. Fresh colostrum or breast milk is best but frozen is fine too.

If your baby is not receiving feedings by breast or bottle, you or your baby’s nurse can swab the inside of his/her mouth with small amounts of your colostrum/breast milk each time “hands on” care is provided in the NICU. Talk with your baby’s nurse about participating in mouth care for your baby.

Instructions:

  • Wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer such as Purell®.
  • Pour about 1/4 teaspoon (0.5- 1 mLs) of colostrum or breast milk into a medicine cup. Return the bottle of remaining milk to the refrigerator.
  • Using a sterile swab, dip the swab into the colostrum or breast milk.
  • Gently swab your baby’s lips, gums, tongue and inside of his/her mouth.
  • When you are done, discard the swab and any remaining milk in the medicine cup.

Disclaimer:This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 11/2017

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