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04th Apr 2016

Yale Study Finds That ‘Love’ Is The Best Treatment For Addicted Babies

Sharyn Hayden

When my son was born, he developed chronic jaundice and was sent to the ICU for treatment.

While we fretted about our little man who was hanging out under the sun lamps for 24 hours, in the room next door, another baby wailed endlessly.

On enquiry, we were told that he was born to a drug-addicted mum and was essentially experiencing withdrawal symptoms. His cries were awful, I mean I can still hear and feel them almost five years on.

And the thing is, I remember him being very much alone any time we were in the room next door. All I wanted to do was get in there and hug him and soothe him forever.

Which, according to a Yale study, is precisely the right action to take for an addicted newborn.

Dr. Matthew Grossman from the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital has said that focusing on cuddling and feeding infants in withdrawal — a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome — has proven to be more effective than anti-addiction medication.

The study has shown that this method also drops the length of stay in the hospital for an addicted infant from more than three weeks to less than a week.

“They can be soothed much more easily having intense involvement with parents rather than heavy medication,” he said.

Rather than leaving a baby alone in a bassinet at the ICU, they study encouraged parents to essentially ‘treat them like a baby’; swaddle them, hold them and feed them more regularly.

The parents involved in the study were encouraged to room in with their babies.

“They can be soothed much more easily having intense involvement with the parents rather than heavy medication,” Grossman said. The difference was “really treating them with love.”

Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? Now if only I could turn back time..

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