Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Taking Your Preemie to Church

I attend a church where babies can go to the nursery when they are 18 months old.  Before this time the children stay with their parents in classes and meetings, and when they are 3-4 years old they start attending classes with children their age.

Most parents in my church can’t wait for the 18-month mark so they can send their child to the nursery and finally pay attention in their classes and stop wandering the halls :).  This was not the case for me.

My preemie was born in October, discharged from the NICU in January, and we kept her strictly quarantined until RSV Season ended at the end of May.  During the summer we were able to take her to church with us to our adult classes and we never had any problems with her getting sick.  The following  RSV Season (Oct – May) we had her under strict quarantine again and did not take her to church with us.  We had such a healthy winter – it was amazing!

When the next summer arrived our baby was 18 months old and we thought we would give the nursery a try.  Without fail, every Sunday that we brought our baby to the nursery she caught some germ from the other children or the germ-infested toys (these children probably only had runny noses or mild colds), and our baby came down with croup or pneumonia by mid-week.  After trips to the ER and 2-3 weeks of recovering (though her cough always lasted 1-3 months) we would try taking her to church again.  That was a very sick summer.  Our baby got sick at nursery and she brought it home to my husband and I who had spent the winter pretty isolated ourselves, and we got pretty sick as well.  We continued to try bringing her to church a few times that summer because we wanted her immune system to get stronger from exposure.  It was hard to determine, though, if bringing her to church was doing more harm than good.

The next winter we decided to quarantine her once more because we especially didn’t want her to get RSV.  Apparently her lungs and her immune system were not very strong yet.  That winter we stayed pretty healthy, and the following spring and summer we struggled with sickness frequently again as we tried to expose our preemie to the public.  We are now approaching the end of our fourth RSV Season in which we have kept our preemie out of church.  In the last few months our preemie has graduated from the nursery (because of her age), and we hope to take her to church as soon as RSV Season is over, and from now on, because she will be attending classes and won’t be playing in a room full of runny noses and disease-infested, slobbered-on toys.

We’re really hoping for a healthy summer!  I guess we’ll see how it goes :).

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. Oh I am there right now. We have recently let Halle go to nursery because she seems to be doing so well but then a few days later she will get terribly sick and and will take about a month to recover. I am really hoping she does better this summer because she loves nursery so much! I think one thing that would really help would be if moms would keep their sick children at home but I guess we know how that goes. I hope Maggie enjoys primary and is able to stay healthy!

  2. My micro preemie was born 9/14/09. My due date was 1/5/10 and he came home on 3/4/10. He is still under quarantine until after Mother’s Day! I know it is hard for our family and friends, but we have to do what is right for Michael and keep him healthy. Michael has not been sick at all his entire journey and we are trying desperately to keep it that way. I too wish that parents with sick children would keep them home and away from public places, especially the NICU. I had more run ins with mother’s and sick children in the waiting room of the NICU. Please think of others, who fight every day for each breath they take, and do not take your sick kids or yourselves out in public places!

  3. God gave me my baby, and protected him, and allowed him to live! he stayed in the hospital for 37 days, came home on a monday, so that sunday, we were there at church! of course, he didnt go to nursery till he was over 6 months old!!

  4. Steffanie says:

    God is good! When you go, your baby goes! simple a that! 😉

  5. We took Emma around her dute date so about month old. No one was aloud to touch or hold her until recently if they santize. God is good and will protect our little ones. Church is a big part of our family. Emma is 4 months old but doesnt go to the nursery .MOmmy ,daddy and grandpa, and her aunt are the nursery for now lol.

  6. God chose to save our 27 weeker & we praise & thank Him for this. We also seek wisdom from Him. We felt it wise to not bring Hayden to church during the rsv/flu season. Hayden’s history of chronic lung means a simple cold could lead to another hospitalization. He came home in Feb. 2009 but we did not bring him to church until late May. We are … See Moreprivileged to belong to a church with 2 Sunday morning services so my husband would worship 1st service & then the kids & I would worship 2nd hour. Hayden is 17 months old now & we bring him to church but, unlike our other children, we do not put him in the nursery.

  7. We are almost through our home-bound period with our former 28-weeker. We take him nowhere but to doctors’ appointments. May 1 is his first day of freedom! It’s been a very long winter.

  8. We took our 25 weeker to church about a month after he came home. We made special arrangements to have seats put in the very back away from all other people . We showed up after the service had already began and left during the exiting prayer. It worked very well for us. Also, Joshua was still on oxygen and pulse ox and everyone knew he did not… See More need to become sick and that we were suppose to iscolate him. People at church knew this was important so they never came up to us. In fact if they wanted a peek at Joshua they would stand about 7 to 10 feet away and look from a distance. We were blessed that everyone realized how important church was for us and how crucial it was for them to stay away from Joshua. I have andother friend that had a 28 weeker and they got up in front of the church and explained how they would not be allowed to touch, hold, etc their baby and to please not to be offended. All I can say is pray about your situation with your preemie and attending church. It worked out for us and we were blessed to have an understanding church

  9. If you heart tells you don’t bring them then don’t! Always go with your gut!

  10. I think it also depends on the time of the year and what if going around. I would wait especially during RSV season. I know my son, who was born at 25 weeks, had breathing troubles for the whole first year. So, we took him at about a month, but would use our judgement each week.

  11. Our girl was born 25 week and we were in the hospital for 3 months and when leaving the doctors told us that we should not go to public places, shopping malls, subway, etc for another half a year. I thought it was long, but I guess the docs know what they´re talking about. Of course going to church has some meaning, unlike going to the shopping mall, nevertheless, I think that the baby will catch up later 🙂

  12. I was scared to take mine anywhere for awhile !!!

  13. We handled things a bit differently. With our 32wkr who came home in mid November and had never had any breathing issues, we took her to church after a few weeks home but had very strict rules, no one could touch or hold her but my husband and I, plus she nursed a lot and we spent a lot of time in the mothers lounge listening via the speaker system. She is 2 now and has rarely been sick and never more than a little cold or nasty diapers. She started going to nursery early because my husband was called as a nursery worker and I couldn’t take my 15 mo old to teach primary. She received the Synagis shot but none of us have ever gotten any sort of flu shot.
    My 27wkr has been home for almost 3 months now. We didn’t take her to church for the first month home, But she has run errands with me because all our stored milk was ruined so she had to go with the food. I strap her to me in the moby style wrap and it really keeps people away. We are having a almost non existent RSV season in AZ, they haven’t even shut down visitation in the NICU Melany was in, there hadn’t been any cases at that hospital yet and it is December. We really play it by ear and ALWAYS keep our kids home if they are even mildly sick. I won’t be that parent bringing sick babies to contaminate the rest of the kids at church.

  14. Our pediatrician said no church during RSV season for our micropreemie who is now 16 mos. Our daughter stayed healthy all winter. Her first big cold followed our return to church at the beginning of May, and she didn’t even go near any small children or the nursery. It feels a bit lonley to not be connected to our church family regularly, but we do meet with a small group that is very familiar with our little girl’s history and health needs. We will likely keep her out of the nursery until she is at least 2. I think people are more likely to go to church sick when they really ought to stay home and heal…perhaps its out of guilt, i just would feel a lot more guilty about my sneezing and coughing infecting the weaker members of the community than worshipping with the bedside baptists!

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