About Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a birth defect caused by the mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy. It is diagnosed when the babies have:
Growth deficiency before and after birth for height or weight or both.
Characteristic facial features are generally short eye slits, a flat mid face, a short upturned nose. The ridges between the nose and lips are smooth or long and a thin upper lip.
Some central nervous system damage including a small size of brain, tremors, hyperactivity, fine or gross motor problems.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is 100% preventable and 100% irreversible.
I am a foster mother of a little girl who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). When I got her, she was 10 weeks old and I was told that her future did not look very good. However, with a great deal of love and help she has amazed everyone. I have also been foster mother to other FAS babies and have written this leaflet in the hope it will help other mothers to overcome some of the problems I have come across.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome babies have many problems.
Understand that your baby's brain works differently.
Your baby could be very sensitive to touch, so before holding your baby wrap him/her snugly in a soft blanket.
Hold your baby for all feeds
Use soft lighting
Avoid loud noises, play soft calming music
Introduce new things like toys slowly and only when baby is calm and ready.
He/She may take longer in being able to sit up, crawl, walk, talk etc.
Sucking seems to be difficult and can be aided by laying baby in your lap and holding the cheeks to keep the lips around the teat. A feeding cup or spoon can be used, but it is important to get baby to suck. Honey on the dummy will encourage sucking and also helps to calm your baby.
Jerking of the limbs when withdrawing from Alcohol can be eased by stroking and by wrapping tightly. At times some Fetal Alcohol Syndrome babies don't like to be touched, as it seems as if their nerve endings are raw. It has been found that there is usually one place that baby likes to be touched. One baby could be soothed by placing mother's mouth just below baby's ear and on another baby it was rubbing or patting the chest. Gripe water has a lot of Alcohol in it and should be used sparingly but it can help a FAS baby when withdrawing from Alcohol. Holding baby with his/her back against your side and hanging over your arm also soothes. Alternatively, giving baby a warm bath may also help.
Babies that don't feed well, will also dehydrate very quickly so make sure baby gets plenty of fluids and if you are at all worried get baby to Doctor as quickly as possible.
Recipe for Rehydration fluid.
1 litre of boiled water and add 8 level teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Shake well and let baby drink as much as possible every 2 hours and after every dirty nappy.
To keep them clear, add 1/4-teaspoon salt or bicarbonate of soda to 1 cup of cooled boiled water and put one drop of this mixture in each nostril.
If baby has a lot of phlegm which makes feeding difficult, use a good pinch of Bicarbonate of Soda in a small drop of milk before feeding. This will help to bring the phlegm up.
If baby brings up a lot of milk after all feeds; Gaviscon® in the bottle may help or else in more severe cases Prepulsid®. Raising baby's head when lying in his/her cot seems to help - place a folded towel, blanket etc. under the mattress. When baby comes to eat solids he/she may not have the reflex to swallow so put in a mouthful of food, followed by the dummy.
If baby keeps his/her thumb tucked inside the fingers, at every opportunity place baby's thumb out flat and hold it in the open hand position on a flat surface.
If baby is constipated put a teaspoon of brown sugar in a drop of warm boiled water.
For upset stomach and fever try using;
One packet of Jelly dissolved in a cup of boiling water, stir in one and a half cups of cold water and leave to cool at room temperature (not in the fridge) and use as a drink.
This is a leaflet that a mother of a FAS child wrote for the care of FAS children. If you would like to use any information please contact me at the mail page. She will prosecute any infringements on this page.
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