Question:i'm doing a college course at the moment on early years, and one of the modules is about feeding babies. i need to know about special equipment for feeding special needs babies. Any ideas?
Well, as jeanyos pointed out, it really depends on the type of needs the baby has. What type of disability are you looking at? Muscle tone or Coordination as in CP? Physiological problems like cleft palate? Congenital bowel disorders? Heart problems where O2 levels drop rapidly?
There are haberman feeders, supplemental nursing systems, cup feeders, and all kinds of tubes. Mostly the first is what my mom uses in the NICU, unless they are intubated and IV'ed. Maybe google, sorry.
The best bottle is a bottle of love, a special needs baby requires calm confident love. The carer should be ready to look at the child and just keep trying different things based on the childs oral ability and responsies if any. If there is no responce to any object placed into the mouth then the next step is to hold the baby so that a small amount of liquid can be pored into the mouth. the baby will then do one of two things..... swollow,,,, there for musels work enough to prevent chocking so try to find a bottle that works. or gag (in this case tube feeding may need to be consided).
If the child swollows look at how much the child can swollow at each time and how fast the child can swollow. Also does the toungue respond appropriately at a young age and move forward like a milking motion??
You really need to think about how much a child can swollow, how difficult (some children need recovery time after each swollow). Most young childrens tougne moves in a circular motion when swollowing which shows a "milking" type action on a bottle or breast.
When you get some of this info it will show you how much milk and how easy it need to be for the disabled child to have success. Some babies with disability suck way too hard and go straight to a straw type teat designed for a toddler, others suck little and tounges do not move and the carer must squeeze the bottle - with a widened teat to get some milk into the mouth and trigger a swollow reflex.
I hope I have pointed out that a disabled baby is a diverse thing to care for.
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