The need to hand rear may be necessary for a variety of reasons -
Physical condition of infants
An incubator is the best source of warmth. Heat lamps are not suitable, the heat is too intense and will dehydrate the babies. If an incubator is not available hot water bottles are good, but use caution and wrap them in several layers of towelling. Small babies die very quickly if too hot. 26.5°C-
A syringe with a small teat on the end is the best thing for feeding. Dolls ' bottles are usually too large and glass ones are awkward to use. Syringes also have the advantage of being calibrated so the amount of each feed can be recorded. There are many accounts of milk formula and various additives but experience has shown that a good quality milk substitute for human babies is quite adequate without additional vitamins etc.Start by feeding the baby every 2 hours. The milk must be warmed to blood temperature, gauge this by holding the syringe against your cheek or wrist. Babies will not take milk that is too hot or too cold. It is best to wait a little while if they have been taken directly from the parents, as they may be distressed and will accept an artificial teat more readily if hungry. Hold the baby in an upright position to feed it,not lying on its back. This will help stop milk being inhaled and going into the lungs which can lead to pneumonia. If they sneeze it out of'the nose dab it with tissue to prevent it being inhaled. Introduce the teat to the mouth and, if the baby sucks the teat immediately, release the milk slowly the infant does not suck at the teat try putting a drop on the lips to see if the baby will lick it. The first feed can be of just glucose or honey and water to start the system gently, the second feed diluted milk and thereafter as per the mixing instructions. The baby may take very small amounts at first, O.5ml being average for the first few days. Feed only when the baby is hungry and sucking vigorously, encouraging it to keep taking more milk will be fatal. Babies will not die of being slightly underfed, but overfeeding will kill them. As the volume of the feeds increases the frequency can be reduced; 3 hourly 2nd week, 4 hourly 3rd week, etc. Babies will be very hungry at some feeds, less at others, but this is quite normal. After each feed stimulate the baby to urinate and defecate by gently rubbing the anus and genitals with some tissue or cotton wool which should be moistened with warm water. The first motion is normally very thick and dark after which they will be pale yellow. Should the baby become sore around the base of the tail use a little baby cream. After two weeks the baby will not need feeding at night-
Weighing the babies daily and keeping a record of their weight gain is important. The weight should increase steadily, though not necessarily daily (a little weight loss may occur in the first couple of days). If there is gradual weight loss while they are still being fed milk consult your vet or seek further guidance. When the babies begin to wean and you start withholding bottle feeds a slight weight loss is normal. Minor digestive problems can occur. Constipation if the babies have not defecated after a couple of feeds, might be remedied by replacing a milk feed with glucose and water. Using water that has had a handful of rice boiled in it to make up the milk feed may help diarrhoea. The starch in the rice has a binding effect. If diarrhoea is severe and persistent feed the baby an electrolyte solution to ensure it does not dehydrate. If this is done for a couple of feeds it may solve the problem otherwise consult your vet. Be very cautious when using kaolin based remedies as they can cause intestinal blockage.
Reintroduction should be started as soon as possible, contact with the rest of the natal group is very important. Ideally during the day the infants should be kept within sight, sound and smell of the group, preferably in their container within the enclosure. Once the infants are mobile they should be released for short periods, gradually increasing until they are fully integrated. All interactions should be observed initially. If it is not possible to reintroduce infants to their family, mixing them with a single animal of any callitrichid species can be successful and is preferable to isolation.
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