Steps to Caring for Drug Addicted Babies
Drug addiction is a horrible disease affecting hundreds of thousands of people across the world, and it is unfortunate that drug addicted babies is becoming all to common. Breaking this addiction is painful, both for the addict as well as those around them. Adding a pregnancy to the equation brings even more heartbreak to the situation, as babies born to drug addicted mothers often face a lifetime of problems due to the drugs they ingest from their mother.
The severity of the problems a drug addicted baby will face depends on a number of factors, including the type of drug being used, the frequency of the drug usage, and the babies gestational period during the time of the drug use. Alcohol, crack, cocaine, prescription drugs, and meth are the most common types of drugs abused today, however, many other types of drugs can be abused. Each of these drugs can be devastating to an unborn fetus.
Babies born addicted to drugs may experience problems immediately after birth, or symptoms may not appear until toddler-hood or beyond. Every baby is different, therefore, the symptoms that he will exhibit can vary greatly. Common symptoms associated with a baby born to a drug addicted mother include low birth weight, rapid heartbeat, sudden uncontrollable movements, poor eating habits, and disturbed sleep patterns. Other symptoms that occur over a period of time include hyperactivity, irritability, impaired motor skills, behavior problems, aggression, urinary tract defects, and impaired social skills.
Low birth weight may require the baby to remain in the hospital for an extended period of time, and possibly spend time in the Intensive Care Unit for breathing and feeding issues. Babies born with low birth weight also have a harder time fighting of dangerous infections and germs, as well as making them more susceptible to infections.
A drug addicted baby may have an extremely irritable sense. They may cry a majority of the time, and may have trouble sleeping as the drugs are taken from their body. They may be startled easily, and have a short temper. These signs often continue for the baby as he or she grows.
Getting an affected baby to eat can be hard. Often babies will be fed tube until they begin eating on their own free will. This may also require the baby to spend additional time in the hospital.
Although these defects are not reversible, there are many steps you can take to ensure a healthy, happy, and productive life for the child. Raising a baby born addicted to drugs can be hard for anyone, but it is not only possible, but easy with a little time. Love is the first, and most important thing to offer any child, and a baby born addicted to drugs needs extra love and attention. It may take a few days or even several weeks to fully understand what problems the baby will endure. Once you know the signs the baby exhibits due to the drug addiction you will gain a better understanding of how to better care for him.
Swaddling is a highly effective method used to soothe a baby born addicted to drugs. Swaddling gives the baby a sense of security and offers them comfort. Practicing infant massage is another great way to soothe a fussy baby. Infant massage is easy to do and simple to learn. Investing in a rocking chair is another way to help a drug addicted baby cope. Play soft music as you rock the baby.
Raising any baby is a challenge, and a baby born addicted to narcotics is an even greater challenge. With time, love, and patience, you will be able to effectively care for your new baby.