18 answers

Need Advice for Baby with Nicotine Withdrawal

My husband and I just brought our adopted baby girl home from the hospital yesterday. She was born Monday. We're having issues with her at night - she won't sleep. She needs to be held, swadled and patted (hard enough that it almost feels like we're hurting her but she loves it) Nurses at the hospital said she is showing symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Has anyone had to deal with this? How long does it last? What are some of the things you did to comfort your baby? Thank you!!!

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So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for your advice and encouragement. To clarify - the nurses felt she was exeriencing nicotine withdraw because the severity of her screaming at night and the way she tensed her body (among other things) were consistent with what they've seen in babies born with addictions. I believe we've made it though the worst; I certainly don't expect her to be sleeping all night long or anything right now - though it would be nice :-) - but I knew the past few nights weren't normal either. Thanks again everyone!!! God bless!

Featured Answers

my first child did this and dr always asked me if i smoked, I wandered why...but the thing is i don't and my husband does not and we don't go to bars or places where there is smoke. my son i would beat him on the but and he loved it. you know how people gives babys the pat. i would have to say no he likes it harder. and they looked at me like i was crazy. but he quit cring when you did. he love swaddled and being held tight. would not sleep in his bed. we tried everything. finally to get some sleep he slept in his carseat . we fell asleep and eight house later still sleeping. we were like wow. so guess were he slept. we would try his bed again and again. let him cry it out. nothing ever worked. we found out when he was about year and half after taking him to developemental pediatrician. he has sensory intetgration disorder. just a thought.

Welcome to newborn mommyhood:) You won't sleep for a while. Is there anything the docs could do to know if it's withdrawl? If not, have you tried a swing? My son was colicky due to acid reflux but that doesn't usually start until around 3 weeks after birth. The only thing that helped was to put him in the car seat and swing him back and forth with great momentum and a bit of a hitch at the end of each arc.

Good Luck:) Congrats!

More Answers

Congratulations on the adoption. Don't take this the wrong way, but I think you may be reading too much into this. I don't know of a SINGLE 5 day old baby that sleeps well at night. It's all part of a newborns adjustment to a world they are completely unfamiliar with. I did everything by the book when I was pregnant with my first from a nutrition, exercise, and medical standpoint and he was born a very healthy little boy, but one that didn't sleep through the night until he was about 7 months old. It all comes with parenthood. I'm expecting #2 in April and relish the thought of having a newborn again, but I'm definitely not looking forward to the sleepless nights. Be patient, it will get better.
T.

ask the nurses and pediatrition about the nicotine withdrawl and what is best to do. don't worry too much until you have more imput from them.
most babies don't sleep through the night anyway and require the holding/swadling and patting just like yours. hang in there and good luck to you and your family. best wishes and congratulatons.

Holding, swaddling and patting are just what she needs, and most new babies don't sleep more than 2-3 hours at time, if your lucky. Holding her is best thing for her and will help with bonding. I am a Mom of 4, grandma to 2, and have had several foster children, mostly babies. There may be some nicotine withdrawl, but all mine acted the same way and I didn't smoke. My youngest granddaughter is 6 weeks now and sleeping about 4 hours at night now and only if she sleeps with her mommy(she didn't smoke either). If she is having withdrawl symtoms keeping things quiet at home and not taking her out around a bunch of people may help. My foster babies always needed a lot of extra rocking and quiet time, and they soon were thriving.
Wishing you the best of best of luck and much happiness with your new baby.
Nancy

Welcome to newborn mommyhood:) You won't sleep for a while. Is there anything the docs could do to know if it's withdrawl? If not, have you tried a swing? My son was colicky due to acid reflux but that doesn't usually start until around 3 weeks after birth. The only thing that helped was to put him in the car seat and swing him back and forth with great momentum and a bit of a hitch at the end of each arc.

Good Luck:) Congrats!

Love and patience...that's my only advice...which I know doesn't really help. I really just want to say congratulations on your adoption! What a blessing! And it sounds like this baby is incredibly lucky to have you as parents.

Congratulations on your precious new gift! Both of our children are adopted and both birthmoms smoked during pregnancy(which really bugged me). Fortunately, they didn't seem to experience the withdrawal symptoms that you describe and neither one had low birthweight. I hope she is able to sleep better soon and adjusts well to your home environment and schedule. Someone mentioned potential attachment issues and that you shouldn't let her cry herself to sleep. I have to disagree. We had NO trouble whatsoever with attachment or bonding with our kids, and we taught them to go to sleep in their beds from the time we brought them home(same age as your daughter). I believe our whole family is happier, well-adjusted and well-rested(most of the time) because of it. Of course every parent has the opportunity to do things their own way, but I just didn't want you to think that there is only one way to create attachment. We were also led to believe that breastfeeding was the only way to really bond with your baby too, but that wasn't an option for me and as I said there were no problems with bonding! Hope you get better sleep this coming week.

No advice but you are doing a wonderful thing, congrats on the new addition, good luck and god bless, the world needs more ppl like you.

If it truly is nicotine withdrawal the symptoms should be over in about 5 days tops. I have conducted many breathe free plans to stop smoking and that is the amount of time it takes to clear your system of the nicotine. Good luck with your new baby and congratulations on your adoption-I have an adopted daughter also.

Don't feel to bad about the getting up at night thing because we have a two year old that we adopted at 3 weeks old and he is still getting up at night, not as frequent as when we first took him in but he still gets up and we also cannot get him broke from the bottle.

We do know also that his mother was on drugs and alcohol so that I am sure is playing a role in his waking up. We have tried almost everything we can think of.

Please hang in there and congrats on your adoption. God Bless You!

Welcome to Parenthood!
Well she has just been home one day. Outside of the womb and noises that she is not used to. It will take a few days for that to change. I assume the nurses have something to base their assumptions on. A swing might help you out.
As an older Mom, I look back and miss holding my swaddled newborn, patting their little behinds till I thought they were going to bounce right off my shoulder! It's a feeling that at the time can wear you out, but you never forget and and remember fondly. It builds the bonding believe it or not. As tired as you are she is too. Remember, she is growing at a rate of speed that is incredible. Here was my routine that seemed to work. Feed baby, burp baby, change baby, rock baby, change baby, sleep for 20 minutes start over. Or at least it seemed that way for a few weeks. If you are bottle feeding burping is essential! Also sometimes formulas need to be carefully monitored.

A.,
CONGRATS!!!
First times are always tough no matter the cicumstances. Your baby is still getting used to the outside world, you (she's used to hearing her mothers voice), your husband, sleeping in a bed, etc. Have you tried to swaddle her (wrap her up tightly)? Remember she's been cramped for several months now. Maybe her birth mother worked nights and she was used to being in motion then (happened with my daughter).
Have you talked to your pediatrician about her and what the nurse told you? Start there first.
Try a nice warm bath and J&J Lavender/Calming(?) lotion right before bedtime.
As far as the sleep deprivation-welcome to parenthood!
It'll get easier I'm sure as you guys get used to one another.
God bless you and your new family!
Good luck! Keep us posted-ok?!
R.

Congratulations! Enjoy every moment - even the tough ones. Both our girls are adopted and our first had problems like yours. I am not sure that she is having nicotine withdrawal or if she is just getting settled in. It would seem she would be having problems during the day also. You have not really had her that long to be able to see a pattern. I am not a doctor but I have alot of experience with sleepless nights.

Here is my advice.
1. Get a support system- parents, friends etc. to give you a little time to rest. We didn't and both my husband and I ended up with walking pneumonia when she was 3 wks old. Just cause you didn't give birth doesn't mean this isn't hard on your body. Sleep anytime you can right now. Let someone bring you food and watch over her so you can get a good nap in the day.
2. Check on her formula - our daughter was allergic to her formula. This takes time to discover and doctors are not always quick to change a formula. The thing with a formula change is that it takes time before you will know a difference. We tried formula without iron and then finally had to go with a soy based formula and that did it.
3. Practical ideas to soothe your sweet baby. Sometimes they like noise. We tried everything to get a little sleep and some worked - some didn't. You just have to keep trying. We found that running the vacuum cleaner in her room helped her sleep for 45 min to 1 hour but a recording of the vacuum cleaner didn't help at all! :) We found that if we put her bassinet on the top of the stove, unplugged of course, and turned on the hood fan it would soothe her. We also did alot of bouncing, either with us standing up and swaying with her on putting her on our knees. We also found she liked to be patted on the bottom and she liked it a little harder that we had thought she would. (That should have clued me in to her stubborn nature to come :))

Be careful of holding her to put her to sleep when this adjustment time is over. That is another mistake we made. The doctor said that after we got her stomach settled down we should let her learn to cry herself to sleep. We should make sure she was very tired and well fed and we should put her down. But I had waited 10 years for this baby and I couldn't do it! Later at 2 yrs old we were still fighting getting her to sleep through the night because she needed us to soothe her and to help her fall asleep when she stirred in the night. We didn't make the same mistake with her sister. :)

Keep trying new things and get help. This will soon be over and you will spend the rest of your life tackling the things that continue to bother her.

Please feel free to contact me. I will be glad to help.

Hey A.!
Rick always said bouncing from the knees (not just the arms) soothed Becca the best. She had terrible colic and was quite a tenacious screamer. It's a good leg workout...perhaps better delegated to Nick because he's had a little more rest than you. You know I'm praying for you and will come over anytime to give you a break. Give Essie a smooch for me.
Love you,
K.

my first child did this and dr always asked me if i smoked, I wandered why...but the thing is i don't and my husband does not and we don't go to bars or places where there is smoke. my son i would beat him on the but and he loved it. you know how people gives babys the pat. i would have to say no he likes it harder. and they looked at me like i was crazy. but he quit cring when you did. he love swaddled and being held tight. would not sleep in his bed. we tried everything. finally to get some sleep he slept in his carseat . we fell asleep and eight house later still sleeping. we were like wow. so guess were he slept. we would try his bed again and again. let him cry it out. nothing ever worked. we found out when he was about year and half after taking him to developemental pediatrician. he has sensory intetgration disorder. just a thought.

First, congratulations! There are tons of different things to comfort a baby. Although I haven't dealt with nicotine withdrawl, I wouldn't imagine that it would last much longer than a week or so. Even if that's not what it is, some babies just need to be held more. I hope that you're in a position to not have to worry about being sleep deprived because I spent a lot of time just holding our kids to comfort them (yes, even in the middle of the night). They need that connection - especially with Mommy. Just think of it as your special time to give the baby all of the holding that you couldn't give her before she was born. try a pacifier.

I know that some folks don't agree with pacifier use, we never had a problem with them (3 kids aged 2,4 & 6) All our kids have normal oral development and no issues with crooked teeth or any other problems. Also, given that the biological mom was a smoker, there is significant evidence to support babies using pacifiers are at less risk for SIDS.

Also we used a Nicolette Larson cd of baby lulabyes when our kids were fussy. http://www.amazon.com/Sleep-Baby-Nicolette-Larson/dp/B###... I liked it a lot too!

Don't fret too much about the swaddling and patting. Every baby is different and I had one that was exactly that way...the other 2 couldn't STAND to have their arms swaddled at all!

Talk to your pediatrician to see if they have suggestions on the Nicotine withdrawl as well. Don't be afraid to call and ask for their advice - they are more than likely used to new Mommies and Daddies calling. You will likely be giving them a lot of money over the years, so take advantage of their knowledge!

Good luck to you!
N.

with a baby that has a high chance of having attachment issues, i would strongly caution NOT to let her cry herself to aleep as another mom suggested.
there is a great class that i have had alot of clients take called "the happiest baby on the block" it is a wonderful resource for new parents!

congradulations on your new arrival! cherish these "baby" moments! soon she will be over flowing your toilet, spilling whole boxes of cereal on the floor, and smearing the containts of her diaper on the walls !! LOL

M.
Birth doula

HI A.,
Congratulations on your baby!
I have 2 children and they were so different at night.
I often read that the reason why babies are so uneasy at night it is because that was usualy their awake time in the womb. Because we're busy during the day, they were rocked and soothed and at night, when you sleep is when they kick the most as they can't get comfy and you're not moving.

I actually made it a point to walk a lot at night, be mobile and even rock my body to get my baby to sleep at night at birth since my daughter was so tough.

He DID indeed sleep through the night since the beggining.

On a flip note, my daughter, who was my first, slept all day (I did water aerobics ever single day) and at night she cried and fussed and played and lived! Daytime was sleeping time.
I turned it around by 5 weeks, I kept her downstairs with light, noise, I got her to play after every meal and stay awak as long as she could.

At night, since the beggining, we fed, bathed and put down in a quiet room with the lights dimmed.
Soon she started being more restful at night.
The swing was always nice.

A woman said in your responses that letting her baby cry was important as she couldn't have the other child welf-soothe until 2 yrs

I disagree, I allowed my baby to be cuddled, spoiled, loved, attached and needy for 6 months, both children. At 6 months, I let her cry to sleep.
She has been self-soothing since, sleeping in her own bed, through the night at about 2 months (11 to 5 at first) and gradually increasing in the emount of time. At 6 months she was sleeping about 8:20 to 5, at 18 months now she sleeps 8 to 8 pretty much. She goes in her room, in her bed, doesn't cry, plays, falls asleep and wakes up slowly, plays and before she gets fussy I get her (10 to 20 mnts)

This is such a wonderful time but being nervouse and wanting to make sure you "do it right" can also stress you. Relax and remember, this goes by so fast and before you know it, in a years time, they will crawl out of your arms desperate to explore ;) So enjoy the short time you have to soother her cries, comfort her.... but also enjoy it!!! Some babies just cry more than others... its totally normal.

Having been a NICU nurse for 17 years- It sounds to me like more than nicotine withdrawl. Please consult with your pediatrician and see if she needs tested for other drugs. There is medicine they can then give her if she is having such a hard time. Does she cry a lot? Is this ony happening at night? There are so many other symptoms as well. I don't mean to scare you. I just feel bad for your family- she is not comfortable and you are worried. So talk to your Dr.

Good luck with your new baby- she is so lucky to have you!!!!!!

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