Being a new parent can be daunting at the best of times but caring for a baby with Down’s syndrome can be extremely challenging. The following articles will offer help and advice on how to care for your baby and ensure they live a happy and fulfilled life.
In the first few days with their baby, most parents begin to see past the condition of Down’s syndrome and realise that their baby is equally precious and special. Many Down’s syndrome babies develop in largely the same way as those without Down’s, but this may take longer and those with more severe learning difficulties may develop at a much slower rate.
Down’s syndrome babies need the same care in terms of feeding and changing nappies, as those without the condition. Many babies with Down’s syndrome do not have the degree of muscle tone that other babies have which may make it more difficult to feed them; they may have trouble grasping a teat or latching onto the breast so it may take longer to feed and you will need to support them throughout. It is beneficial to try and establish a routine for feeding as early on as possible; this will make it easier for you as a parent as well as making life easier for your child.
Benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has been continuously proven to be beneficial for all babies; there are several reasons for this. Firstly the proximity between the baby and mother helps to foster strong bonds and comfort the baby. Secondly, breast milk contains an array of important nutrients and antibodies, which will enable your child to fight off infections and illnesses more effectively. Breast milk has also been proven to reduce the risk of constipation, which is particularly common in babies with Down’s syndrome due to the lack of muscle tone in their bodies.
Most babies with Down’s syndrome will be able to cope with solid foods at the same time as those without the condition. You should introduce solid foods gradually as this will enable your baby to get used to the process of chewing and digesting them.
Sleeping is an integral part of a baby’s life as it allows them to grow and develop fully. Babies sleep an average of 16 hours each day which usually involves periods of 2-3 hours sleep at a time; as babies grow they sleep less and by the age of 2 most children sleep only at night. It is best to try and get your baby into a routine of sleeping in a cot or baby basket as it is not always possible for them to sleep in your arms; sleeping on an adult can also contribute to cot death. It is a good idea to check your child regularly while they are sleeping.