Special care for your little one

Some babies are born with physical or intellectual disabilities that require special care at the time after birth and in the coming weeks. The causes can be premature or difficult birth, may occur due to a condition during the pregnancy or even at time of conception or genetics.

Talking to your doctor or specialist can help. Ask them about any concerns you have. Some questions you might like to ask include:

  • Is there a name for my child’s problem? If so, what is it?
  • Does my child need more tests to get a clear diagnosis?
  • Is the condition likely to get better or worse, or will it stay the same?
  • Where is the best place to go for medical help?
  • Can I get any help or support?
  • How can I get in touch with other parents who have children with a similar problem?
  • How can I help my child?

You may find it difficult to understand and absorb everything that’s said to you at first. You may also find that not all health professionals communicate well with parents. Ask for the information again if you feel you need to. If you can, get a friend or relative to come with you, or take a pen and paper so that you can make some notes.

Babies with health problems usually need to stay in hospital for special attention after the mother has gone home. It’s important for you and your baby to get to know each other. You’ll be encouraged to do this as soon as possible after the birth.

Some parents know in advance that their baby will have a problem; but, whether the news comes before or after the birth, you may have feelings that are hard to cope with.

Grief, anger and disbelief are natural at this time. Many parents, especially mothers, are worried that they are somehow to blame for the problem – but this is very unlikely. You may hesitate to touch and handle your baby at first.

You need as much support and information as you can get. Talking to your midwife, doctor, hospital staff, social worker or counselor may help.

So will talking to parents of babies with the same condition.

Find information here to put you in touch with appropriate community organisations or support groups. These organisations can provide information and support for you and your family.