The first year's worth of holidays are one of the most exciting times for parents of new babies. You get to show off your new arrival at all the family gatherings, dress them in special outfits, and document every moment of each occasion with photos that you'll post to social media moments after you take them. But if you're one of the millions of parents whose babies are born well before their due date, you may wonder if you can even celebrate Halloween with a premature baby.
Approximately 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely (before 37 weeks), according to the March of Dimes. Though some preemies are healthy enough to go home not long after birth, others have health problems such as heart, lung, or intestinal issues that require them to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). There, they receive the professional care and attention they need to overcome their medical challenges and leave the hospital.
Regrettably, going out trick-or-treating on Halloween is something most preemies have to miss out on. Even premature infants who are well enough to go home aren't able to join the candy collectors. BabyCenter explained that doctors often advise parents of preemies to avoid exposing their babies to crowds for the first three months after coming home, since their small bodies are particularly susceptible to germs and infections. For the same reason, it's not advisable to bring a premature baby to a Halloween party, where they may be overstimulated by the sights and sounds, and where too many well-meaning people may want a turn at cuddling the little one.
But that doesn't mean that parents of preemies can't enjoy the fun of dressing their child up at Halloween. Many hospitals even get into the spirit of the holiday and create costumes for premature babies. It provides a welcome moment of relief for parents worried over their child's health, and gives them a chance to photograph and share their baby's first Halloween outfit.
More and more stores and clothing designers now make costumes and accessories for the tiniest pumpkins, too. They're so adorable, you'll be tempted to keep your baby in them long after October 31 has passed. Take a look at these perfect preemie buys.
This ap-peel-ing onesie is as sweet and soft as the actual fruit. Made for preemies up to 6 pounds, it opens in the front for easy dressing.
Ready for baby's first tailgating party! This bunting doubles as a sleep sack for tired trick-or-treaters, and for an additional $5, you can personalize it with your child's name.
Too sweet for words, this four-piece set is also super-practical. It's designed to go on and off easily without pulling over baby's head — an important consideration for hospitalized premature babies who may be attached to oxygen and feeding tubes. The small company that makes these outfits is run by a couple whose (now-grown) daughter was born prematurely and had to stay in the hospital for nearly two months.