Meth baby - what to expect?
My brother in laws sister is adopting a baby from the state of Massachusetts that has been born with meth in his system. The Biological mom is an addict and was on a patch for meth???? They gave up the baby last week. The baby must stay in the hospital for up to 7 weeks to ween himself from this drug. They are adopting this baby thinking that after 7 weeks it will be fine??? She called me to see if I knew anthing about the symptoms of babies born with meth in their systems. I have NO idea! Do any of you know about this?? Is is true that once you ween them, they are fine? Any advice or comments would be appreciated. THanks!
The withdrawl symptoms DO go away after they are weened. The effects of the drugs on the babies development cannot be predicted. It is a wait and see type of thing. The newborn we had that was a "meth baby" was the easiest baby I have ever cared for-sooooo sweet. But, others have not had the same experience. Our youngest was exposed to heroin daily and born at 26 weeks. She is a great sleeper and very happy most of the time. She has not been a difficult baby at all. I am starting to see some difficult behavior like pulling kids hair and temper tantrums. She is very strong willed and determined (she did fight for her life!) I think this is more her personality than the drug exposure.

Basically, there is no way to tell what challenges this baby will face. I can only speak for myself that our DD has been a joy from day one. She has special needs (OT, PT, and speech once a week, just had eye surgery for crossing, is hypothyroid, mild cerebral palsy, and maybe some sensory issues) BUT, I really don't feel like she has been any harder to raise than any other child. She's our baby girl and we just do what we need to do to help her reach her highest potential.

As you can see, you got me on my favorite topic! I feel lucky to be her mommy and I am looking forward to our adoption agencies reunion next month because I can't wait to show her off to all of those other couples who "weren't interested" in being considered for her because of her special needs. (We were the only couple who expressed an interest) She is the kind of child who lights up a room. She is the center of attention within 5 seconds! I am sooo proud of her and I have very high hopes for her future.
Loaded question....loaded answer Smile It so really depends on so many factors. Babies born to meth addicts and born positive can suffer premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects, sleep A LOT (like 23 hours a day and have to be woken for feedings), and poor eating. Later you can see ADHD, fits of rage, learning disabilities...

OR...........

Everything could be just fine

OR..........

in addition to meth, she could have been an alcoholic and the baby is born FAS (which often results in mental retardation)....or insert any other drug you wish..

It is a wide range...wonderful question to ask. I would tell your relative to ask to speak to the neotologist to get as much info as she can about THIS baby, but even then nobody really knows.....IMHO
I have an 11 month old who was born addicted to meth. i picked him up from the hospital at 2 days old, the hospital said he was very irritable. I did not see that, what I saw in the beginning was lathargic. HOWEVER, that couldve been because he was having breathing issues and did not have enough oxygen. He quit breathing on me and I rushed him to the hospital and within 10 minutes of being there he started crashing and it tok over an hour to get him stable. We spent 6 days in there and left on a apnea monitor, we were on that for 5 months. He has had LOTS of problems, that could be from the meth, it could be from premature, or just not the healthiest infant.????who really knows. He is still not stable. He has been diagnosed failure to thrive because he keeps losing weight and has no appetite. he has breathing issues and has had to have 2 surgeries so far. He is spastic, he acts like he is on crack. Obviously it is no longer in his system but most meth babies will often have adhd issues and also can have learning disabilities and be developementally delayed. Just make sure she is aware that all of these things are a possability. I do not regret taking him in as my foster son but never would have known exactly what I was getting myself into. But I love this little guy with my everything. Hes the best!!! Do you know why they want him to be in the hospital for 7 weeks? Thats a long time. was he a preemie and how early was he? our guy was only 4 weeks early and weighed 5lb 9oz.wish her luck she is going to need it
Intrauterine exposure to ANY drugs can leave ANY residual effects or none at all. There's no way to tell what this baby is going through or is going to go through as a result of the exposure unfortunately.

There's no one definitive, if baby was exposed to cocaine X is going to happen or if baby was exposed to heroin Y is going to happen. This infant may never have an issue past it's withdrawl period or it might be profoundly and severely affected for the rest of it's life.

My experience with babies exposed to meth in the womb is that they fare far better than those exposed to other drugs both short and long term. One little guy I had in particular literally slept 24/7 while he detoxed. Better part of two months I had to strip him down, rub his cheeks and tickle his feet just to get him to wake up and eat and even then he was extremely sluggish. Although scary at times I'd take that over the baby who screams in pain through that detoxing, shakes, seizes, vomits, has poos that literally burn their skin etc

Not sure why baby is expected to stay in the hospital for up to 7 weeks unless there are other underlying medical problems symptoms of withdrawl can usually be effectively managed at home.

As far as long term effects again, it's anyone's guess because there are so many factors...when the meth was used, in what amounts, how often, how fast mom metabolized the drug, if she used anything else in conjunction with the drug etc.

Being aware developmental and emotional problems COULD arise in the future is the first step in heading them off with proper interventions. ECFE/Head Start type programs can be so helpful in identifying these problems and directing parents to the proper resources needed to nip them in the butt if possible.

More info:

[url=http://www.drugexposedinfants.com/meth.htm]Meth/Amphetamines[/url]

[url]http://www.kci.org/meth_info/Crank_Babies/MethamphetamineUseDuringPregnancy.pdf[/url]

[url=http://www.kci.org/meth_info/Crank_Babies/index.htm]Methamphetamine and Crank Babies - Children[/url]

ps. just a side note, I hate it when people say "meth baby" "crank baby" "cocaine baby" etc. Personally I think it's demeaning to label an infant in such a negative way...they're just babies detoxing from intrauterine drug exposure
Is it possible that the baby was born with methadone and not methanphetamine(sp) ?? and that is why they are saying 7 weeks? If so reply and I can give you some info....
I am a nurse at a methadone clinic in MA. Truth be told there really is not that much methanphetamine us in MA so my guess is you are talking about Methadone although the only patches I can think of is fentanyl in the opiate family.
It is very common for methadone addicted babies to remain hospitalized until detoxed completely which is done slowly and gradually.
Please remeber that even though baby will be drug free upon discharge there still might be some residual affects such as sleepless nights, sensitivity to light, touch , sounds, ect as well as inconsolability.

Methdone is very hard on the little ones and detox is aweful. As far as long term affects well that remains to be sen . There is just no way of knowing and not enough studies of children born addicted to methadone and their development later in life.
While methadone is a better alternative than street drugs, it is still a drug and there is always the possibility that bmom may have used other drugs in conjunction with the methadone.
If you are in fact referring to mehadone and have any questions please feel free to ask me.

EZ
gwenrenee007 said...
Is it possible that the baby was born with methadone and not methanphetamine(sp) ?? and that is why they are saying 7 weeks? If so reply and I can give you some info....


Yeah that makes more sense. Crystal meth is a different creature than methadone. Methadone causes Horrible and dangerous withdrawl. Usually done in the hospital.
I agree with everyone else. It just depends on the baby. Some do very well and some have major issues.

So, instead of reiterating what everyone else said, I thought I would provide a website that offers Foster/Adoption training. On this site there is an area for Alcohol & Drug Related Issues. You should also look at the classes under the area of Infants & Toddlers. There are a couple of classes there for "Early Intervention" and "High Needs Babies & Beyond". I found the classes on this site helpful when I am Fostering Babies Exposed to Drugs. Also, the classes are very economical.

The link to the site is:

[url=http://www.fosterparentstest.com/store/index.htm]Foster Care and Adoptive Community[/url]

I don't know about Mass but in the state of Texas we have Early Childhood Intervention (ECI). ECI comes out to evaluate the child to help them catch up to their age group. I would check to see if something like that is offered up there. My guess would be there is something similar.
We were placed with a newborn baby boy who was born positive to meth and he is the best baby in the world. He does sleep a bunch even now at 4 months but is the sweetest and happiest baby I have had. I agree that every case is different but I thought I would share my experience with you.

Oh yeah and as far as gaining weight, well he just turned 4 months and he weighs 20 pounds. :O Our little guy loves to eat! I wish your family the best of luck and will say a prayer for them.
I've fostered multiple drug addicted kids and both my adopted children were prenatally exposed to various things.

ALL of my kids have had some level of trouble from their exposure. That said, they have a lot of other things going on in their birth families histories that make it hard to say what was caused by what.

I would tell you brother in law's sis to be ready for anything as there is just a really wide spectrum of problems that can result... or the baby really could be perfectly fine, but that has not been my experience.

I will say, my daughter's issues are very minor right now, she receives no extra services... she just has some atypical behaviors. My son's issues are extremely challenging, but many different things affect my son's functioning aside from his prenatal exposure.
Our current FS was born addicted to methadone. He was born at the end of June and still currently in the hospital. He had a really hard time coming off of methadone. They tried taking him off a little over a month old and they went too fast so they had to put him back on his full dose and it took another 6 weeks to get him off and this time they did it VERY slow. He is finally off completely, but has gotten whooping cough - whole different story - that is why he has been in the hospital for the past week. So far he seems pretty "normal" although he is still just a baby. A baby born addicted to methadone can be more fussy, have poor or erratic sucking, poor sleeping, and intestinal issues. It can be really hard to see a baby coming off of methadone too, it really breaks your heart.
My baby tested positive for methampetamines. We picked her up from the hospital at 4 days old. So far, she's had zero issues and has been incredibly low maintainence.

As other's stated, future is unknown. The most common issue that arises is ADD or ADHD.
A few months ago we were placed with a baby who was exposed to heroin and methadone in utero. The baby was kept in the hospital to withdraw for 2 months and then DC'd to another foster home for a few days, at which point they disrupted the placement because the baby was so irritable, not sleeping, crying for hours, etc.

When we got the baby, these behaviors continued, plus we saw sweating, gassiness, explosive, irritating loose stools, severe diaper rash, as well as poor sucking, frantic feeding behaviors and muscle stiffness. I brought the baby to our pediatrician, who immediately consulted w/an MD from the Pain and Palliative Care Service at the children's hospital. This palliative care MD determined that the baby was experiencing withdrawal symptoms and prescribed a small dose of morphine 4x/day, plus a smaller dose every hour as needed to manage symptoms. After 2 weeks -- during which we began to see a completely different baby! -- we started the gradual weaning process of a 10% reduction in dose each week (under the direction of the palliative care service). It has taken over 2 months. Apparently, this 3-4 months-long process of weaning from methadone is not unusual.

The baby has done well with this slow weaning, is on track developmentally, smiles and interacts, and sleeping is much improved. The only symptoms we are seeing as we get near the end is continued muscle tension/stiffness resulting in reflux of feedings quite often. I have reported this to pediatrician and palliative care service, and plan is to get a weight check in a few weeks.

I am so pleased with the care provided by the palliative care staff that have managed the baby's care. They are very experienced with this sort of thing and it has made such a difference for this little baby.
RNFosterMom said...
A few months ago we were placed with a baby who was exposed to heroin and methadone in utero. The baby was kept in the hospital to withdraw for 2 months and then DC'd to another foster home for a few days, at which point they disrupted the placement because the baby was so irritable, not sleeping, crying for hours, etc.

When we got the baby, these behaviors continued, plus we saw sweating, gassiness, explosive, irritating loose stools, severe diaper rash, as well as poor sucking, frantic feeding behaviors and muscle stiffness. I brought the baby to our pediatrician, who immediately consulted w/an MD from the Pain and Palliative Care Service at the children's hospital. This palliative care MD determined that the baby was experiencing withdrawal symptoms and prescribed a small dose of morphine 4x/day, plus a smaller dose every hour as needed to manage symptoms. After 2 weeks -- during which we began to see a completely different baby! -- we started the gradual weaning process of a 10% reduction in dose each week (under the direction of the palliative care service). It has taken over 2 months. Apparently, this 3-4 months-long process of weaning from methadone is not unusual.

The baby has done well with this slow weaning, is on track developmentally, smiles and interacts, and sleeping is much improved. The only symptoms we are seeing as we get near the end is continued muscle tension/stiffness resulting in reflux of feedings quite often. I have reported this to pediatrician and palliative care service, and plan is to get a weight check in a few weeks.

I am so pleased with the care provided by the palliative care staff that have managed the baby's care. They are very experienced with this sort of thing and it has made such a difference for this little baby.


WOW, sounds like ya'll have done an AWESOME job taking care of this baby. I hate it when babies are not given help to withdrawl. What's worse is that people get angry at the baby for being so miserable! Be proud of what you are doing to help this baby.
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