Withdrawal and infant recovery tips? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 05-05-2012, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
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We have a potential birth mom we are matched with who have been taking hydrocodone and was not aware she was even pregnant until she was four months along. She has gone the doctor and is on a program to wean and is not using methadone. I do not believe she is had any other substances and I know it has not been alcohol exposure and if there has it has been once. She obviously is a smoker as well.

The hope is that the baby is not born addicted or as strongly addicted since she is weaning off and she is seven months now. However does anyone have any experience or tips for recovering from opiate withdrawal or any withdrawal in the first couple of months of life? Are there any tips about how to bond or things not to do. I have read anecdotally that some people say that's swinging rocker type things actually make it worse and they can be sensitive to touch. Any things that we can do to help her feel better? I know that there are lots of suggestions to put detoxing people in a salt bath to help pull out the toxins so would that be a suggestion for me and this baby to get in Salt bath and help pull things out of her system?
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#2 of 6 Old 05-06-2012, 09:53 PM
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Call 1-866-626-6847.  www.OTISPregnancy.org


They were great at answering all our questions concerning potential adoption situations where babies were exposed.  They are an organization of teratology information specialists.

Homeschooling Momma to DD, DS, DD and DS two furry labs. Wife to my wonderful husband.
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#3 of 6 Old 05-06-2012, 10:20 PM
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I was taking percocet when I got pregnant with my last child and don't mind sharing my experience. I notified my physician as soon as I found out I was pregnant and he said it was no problem to stay on the meds since I have chronic pain. The funny thing was, since becoming pregnant my pain seemed to have subsided. I told my doctor this and he said it is possible that the hormones that pregnancy produces can work a lot like a steroid in relieving nerve pain. So I decided that I didn't want to have a baby in the nicu due to withdrawl when I felt I could tolerate my pain without meds. It took eight weeks to get off of the medication safely. Had I just stopped taking it I could have miscarried from the effects of withdrawl on the baby. If I remember correctly, I was off all meds by my second trimester. My DD was born full term completely healthy and unharmed by me being on medication when I conceived her. She is such a blessing to my life and I didn't even have a high risk pregnancy label during my OB prenatal care.

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#4 of 6 Old 05-08-2012, 07:02 PM
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I think there have been many many positive outcomes for babies with opiate addicted moms, as long as they got closely watched, good medical treatment.


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#5 of 6 Old 05-09-2012, 10:57 AM
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We had a foster child that came to us at 5 days old after cocaine withdrawal but not yet through methadone withdrawal.  Mom's methadone dose was VERY, VERY HIGH and those babies often don't enter withdrawal for up to 3 weeks post-birth (of course, this child's hospital had no clue).  Needless to say, she went through withdrawal unmedicated and in our home.  Thank GOD we were a 2-parent household is all I can say.


"Caring for Drug-exposed Infants" by Barbara Drennen (we bought it here:  http://www.picc.net/index.htm ) was REALLY helpful with some good tips and tricks for handling them.


I'm not sure this child will go through withdrawal post-birth if mom is really off of everything.  If the baby does, it really means that you need to reduce the stimulus in their environment--sound, light, etc.  You can wear them but no talking up in their face and keeping them in reduced light and quiet spaces for a while... possible a month or so.  This means they will score "behind" developmentally during the first few months as they focus on recovering and adjusting to life outside of the womb rather than developing like other babies.


The good news is that the long-term prognosis for drug babies is really good.  Much better than for alcohol-exposed babies, btw.  Shocking, but true.  The problem is that many drug-using birthmothers soften to fall from their high with alcohol... so find out more about that and look online for the physical indicators of the worst of the alcohol exposure.  There are some really tell-tale physical signals, although admittedly with a scrawny baby--some of them can be hard to see.  The children who are most negatively affected by the drugs are usually identifiable at birth based on Apgar scores, etc.


The one we got at 5 days old is now turning 5yo this summer.  She's really doing great.  She left us at 10mo, was with mom for 10mo and then went to the people that have custody of her now (who hopefully can adopt her).  But she's very typical.  She has a vision problem that her biodad had (he was completely clean) and it's been corrected with surgery, but otherwise she's pretty typical.


If someone says that these kids wind up with learning disabilities, I would challenge them to look at the general population--who are rife with learning disabilities these days.

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#6 of 6 Old 05-14-2012, 05:05 AM
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I have experience with an infant born with high levels of cocaine in his system. Exposure levels during pregnancy were unknown.

He was born healthy and full term but he had a small head (common for drug-exposed infants due to oxygen deprivation during pregnancy) and he seemed to have an underdeveloped digestive system.


My tips:

- swaddling was very helpful. He simply would not sleep (day or night) without swaddling

- car rides and rockers and any movement was great for calming him, he cried at every stoplight (the kid needed constant movement)

- attachment parenting style bottle feeding helped us bond and helped calm him

- wearing him helped provide comfort and movement

- he arched a lot and had some stiffness, baby massage helped some

- he had reflux for a long time, small sized feedings and keeping him upright for an hour after feeding helped (it was better to give lots and lots of small feedings rather than a few big ones)

- reading to him everyday helped teach him to focus and stimulated his brain


Long term: drug-exposed infants are more prone to ADHD, addiction, and some other issues as they get older. But that's just something to know so you can come up with a prevention plan. For example, you may not want to keep any alcohol in the home with a child like that. Or you might want to keep him/her enrolled in sports to focus and direct the "excess" energy. Most kids born exposed to cocaine turn out just fine later on in life. Not sure what hydrocodone does to a baby.

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