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Taking care of infants exposed to drugs and alcohol

Children and infants who are exposed to drug and alcohol use may require special attention from professional doctors and physicians. However, there are some things you can do as a parent or caretaker that can also make a difference in getting them on the road to recovery. There are specific needs for each child because of the different levels of drug and alcohol abuse by the parent or caretaker.

Soothing

Infants exposed to drugs and alcohol normally needs a great deal of attention. Soothing a baby by touching the bottom of his feet through a massage technique is a gentle way of calming him down when there are no other reasons why he may be agitated or inconsolable. The human touch does wonders when consoling an infant or child.

Feeding

If the infant has feeding problems, it might be helpful to feed the baby more often. Make sure you feed them in smaller amounts at one time. Place the infant in an upright position during feeding. After feeding, burb the baby. After burping place the infant on their side or stomach to prevent chocking.

Sleeping

Infants who are exposed to drugs and alcohol may have a hard time responding to you and it may be hard to put him or her to sleep. To prevent this from happening, you can reduce the noise level in the environment, wrap the infant in in a warm blanket, hold the infant close to your body and rock him or her back and forth in a slow manner. You can also walk with the infant and offer them a pacifier.

Environment

Taking care of infants who have been exposed to drugs or alcohol is something that is not difficult and how you treat the infant can determine how well he or she responds to you. You can provide a calm environment by using low lighting and soft voices. Gradually increase the amount of time of daily developmental activities and encourage the child to develop self calming patterns and self-control of his or hers own body movements.

Behavior

When children have temper tantrums, it's usually out of build up aggression and frustration. However, when drugs or alcohol is involved in the developmental status of the child, it's normally very difficult to calm them down during a temper tantrum. Remain calm, use a soothing voice and do not threaten or spank the child. You can also provide a designated area for the child to work through their temper tantrum. Some children will want to work on their temper alone, let them work it out, but keep a close eye on them.

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