Babies can be born an addict. But unlike other people who choose to become an addict, babies are just unfortunate victims. Babies never wanted to be born addicts. With drug addict mothers, babies are most likely to suffer withdrawal. They need more love, care, and hugs and sometimes medication to recuperate from the withdrawal symptoms.
How Does Babies Born Addict?
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a condition where a baby born addicted to drugs is experiencing withdrawal. NAS is the result when the expectant mother is addicted to opiates, heroin, or morphine during pregnancy. Addiction to drugs is passed onto the baby when the mother’s blood with a residue of these drugs passed through the placenta.
How Will You Know When the Baby Cries for Drugs Not Milk?
Babies experiencing NAS cries differently. It is a frequent, short, high-pitched, tormented scream. Babies show symptoms like fast breathing, fever, diarrhea, gagging, and change in color. Babies can also suffer from tremors and edginess. When this happens, it is tough to feed them, leading to unhealthy weight loss.
- Babies born addicted to drugs must stay in the hospital for a period. The length of stay will depend on the degree of withdrawal symptoms, type of medication, and social aspects. They are intimately and carefully monitored. Babies who vomit frequently and have diarrhea may obtain dehydration and low weight gain. Sleeping habits and feeding patterns are assessed daily.
- Decrease environmental stimuli can be helpful as well. Minimize noise, light exposure, and suckling pacifier. Moreover, morphine is most commonly used when medication is required. Methadone and other drugs can also be used, but the doctors make sure to use them in minimal amount possible. The goal is to stabilize the baby’s symptoms to eat, sleep, and do some activities. The medications will be stopped gradually before discharge.
- Further, a study shows that there is a little amount of methadone in breast milk. Despite this, mothers are still encouraged to breastfeed for the immunological benefits and for the mother and baby born with the addiction to establish a connection. But not all mothers can breastfeed. Frequent small feedings are necessary for infants having significant withdrawal symptoms.
First steps in treatment are done in the hospital. Infants will only be discharged after discharge criteria are met.
- Taking oral feeds and gaining weight.
- Stable vital signs.
- Level of alertness and responsiveness to social stimuli.
- Ensure adherence to follow-up schedules.
Follow-up schedule should be strictly followed to be able to monitor the infant’s progress regarding growth, behavior, and motor function. The baby should be discharged in a structured home and community setting. A long-term goal of recovery will continue in the home environment.
Also, parents of infants born with addiction must undergo rehabilitation and counseling. They should be able to get all the guidance and support they will need in order to fulfill their part as a parent and to provide a happy atmosphere as the baby is growing. A functional home can beat all the odds.