Tips on Caring for a Drug-Exposed Baby

Previously, you were in the midst of an inner battle: Should I adopt this child, a child who has been exposed to drugs during his or her birth mother’s pregnancy? In the end, you committed. You’re now ready to love and parent this child for the rest of your life, no matter the difficulty. But what about the next step – caring for him or her post birth?

You need answers! Questions are steadily running through your mind. How will my child behave? What can I do to make him or her more comfortable? What on Earth do I need to prepare for post birth life?

Don’t fret! Adoption Choices of Missouri knows that children suffering from withdrawal are often extremely irritable and have a difficult time being calmed. That’s why we found these 5 tips for caring for your drug-exposed baby.

  1. Research, research, research.

Talk to professionals – pediatricians, neonatologists or genetic counselors. They can and will help you feel more at ease!

  1. Swaddle your baby.

Snugly wrapping infants may also reduce their symptoms. Swaying and rocking the swaddled newborns can help calm their symptoms as well.

  1. Reduce stimuli.

Keeping a newborn with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in a dimly lit room with little activity and noise may reduce his or her withdrawal symptom discomfort.

  1. Stay inside.

Keeping infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in the room with their mothers rather than transferring them to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) may reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and hospital length of stay.

  1. Breastfeed your baby.

 Breastfed infants with NAS tend to require less medication and spend fewer days in the hospital!Although you’re an adoptive mother, you may be ableto breastfeed your child by stimulating your breasts to produce milk. You can do this by taking hormones, such as prolactin and oxytocin, or using more natural methods.

Caring for a Drug-Exposed Baby

Learn from other parents who have adopted children with gestational drug exposure, talk with one or more pediatrician, read about the risks and realities discussed in recent studies, and ask adoption professionals what they’ve learned from their experience with these types of adoptions.

Also, remember that every situation is unique, with its own merits and drawbacks! If problems arise, be aggressive in seeking professional assessments and help. Early intervention can make a difference in your drug-exposed baby’s life!

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