How Do You Take Care of a Baby With Cerebral Palsy? Collaboration
Although some cases of cerebral palsy are mild enough that they’re not diagnosed until later, when a child is seriously affected by the disorder it may be apparent at birth or during early infancy. If your baby is one of the thousands who are diagnosed with CP each year, it’s understandable that you’d have concerns about what to do next.
Caring for a baby with cerebral palsy presents more challenges than the average parent of an infant must overcome. The first thing you’ll need to do to meet your baby’s needs is to build a support network of medical professionals, friends, and family you can turn to in order to meet your own needs.
Think of the oxygen mask the flight attendants give before a plane takes off. You’ve got to put your own mask on before you can save anyone else. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, your support system will be the breath of fresh air you need.
Understanding How Cerebral Palsy Affects Your Baby
According to Arkansas Cerebral Palsy Lawyer, cerebral palsy could be the result of an infection or it could have been caused by a medical mistake. If you believe your baby’s CP was caused by a preventable mistake, reach out to an experienced attorney to learn more about your options. It could help you to cover the costs of the special equipment, schools, and treatments your baby will need as they grow and develop.
No matter how your child’s CP happened, the result could be limp or stiff muscles, brain damage, feeding issues, and hearing and vision problems.
How to Meet Your Baby’s Needs
Babies are just beginning to learn about the world around them. They are dependent on you for everything, and that includes having their basic needs met. You weren’t expecting your baby to have CP, but don’t panic, you’ve got this. Now let’s go over the basics of how to care for your baby.
Helping Your Baby Sleep
Is your baby fussy or do they cry inconsolably around bedtime? The following are some of the reasons a baby with CP might have trouble sleeping:
- Sleep apnea
- Muscle spasms
- Breathing problems
- Upset stomach
- Chronic pain
You can ease your baby’s discomfort by creating a serene sleeping space. Give your baby a wedge pillow to help with acid reflux. You may also want to try infant massage as a way to help your baby relax.
Helping Your Baby Eat
Babies with cerebral palsy have low muscle tone that can make it hard for them to hold their heads up. If this is the case for your infant, give them extra support while they’re eating.
Your baby may also have feeding problems that will result in them aspirating food particles. Your doctor may have you add thickening agents to their bottle to help them swallow.
Helping Your Baby Reach Milestones
A physical therapist can show you exercises you can do with your baby that will help them develop their muscle tone. This can help your child reach developmental milestones like talking, standing, sitting, crawling, and rolling over.
The Disabilities Education Act requires states to provide early intervention services to eligible children up to three years of age. Take advantage of this.
Helping Your Baby Have Fun
Babies with CP learn by playing and having fun, the same way any other baby would. Play can boost your baby’s self-image, help them develop creativity, and help with emotional development. Grasping toys can help your child develop their fine motor skills. Bouncing them up and down can also help them to develop their leg muscles.
Your child’s infancy will pass before you know it, and you’ll only have this time with your baby once. Spend as much time as you can enjoying and getting to know your child. Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask for help.