Neonatal Abstinence
Syndrome (NAS)

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Questions & Answers Dr Mom

Hover over the boxes below to see the answers to the questions.

When a mom-to-be takes drugs during pregnancy —especially pain killers called opioids or heroin —they can be passed on to the baby. NAS happens when the baby is no longer exposed to the drugs and has withdrawal symptoms after birth.

You can prevent NAS by not taking any drugs during your pregnancy unless recommended by your doctor. If you are taking drugs already, talk to your doctor first before quitting. With certain drugs, quitting too quickly can hurt you and your baby.

Usually within three days of birth, but sometimes symptoms may not happen for a few weeks.

  • Shaking, twitching muscles, seizures.
  • Trouble breathing or breathing fast.
  • Fussiness, a lot of crying, or high-pitched crying.
  • Sweating, fever or blotchy skin.
  • Trouble sleeping, a lot of yawning.
  • Throwing up or diarrhea.
  • Stuffy nose or sneezing.
  • Feeding problems or slow weight gain.

Call your provider or the hospital right away. Your baby might need medicine, fluids or other interventions to help him feel better.

  • Keep your baby in a quiet, darkened room.
  • Help your baby feel secure by using a special wrap called a swaddler or a sleep sack to keep him comfortable.
  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin — only in his diaper on bare chest.
  • Feed your baby smaller amounts more often if he is having trouble feeding. If you are concerned about your baby’s feeding, contact his doctor right away.
  • Breastfeed your baby. If you are still using drugs including marijuana, talk with your provider first.

Q:

What is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome?

A:

When a mom-to-be takes drugs during pregnancy —especially pain killers called opioids or heroin —they can be passed on to the baby. NAS happens when the baby is no longer exposed to the drugs and has withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Q:

What can I do to prevent NAS?

A:

You can prevent NAS by not taking any drugs during your pregnancy unless recommended by your doctor. If you are taking drugs already, talk to your doctor first before quitting. With certain drugs, quitting too quickly can hurt you and your baby.

Q:

When do the signs of NAS start?

A:

Usually within three days of birth, but sometimes symptoms may not happen for a few weeks.

Q:

What are the signs of NAS?

A:

  • Shaking, twitching muscles, or seizures.
  • Trouble breathing or breathing fast.
  • Fussiness, a lot of crying, or high-pitched crying.
  • Sweating, fever, or blotchy skin.
  • Trouble sleeping or a lot of yawning.
  • Throwing up or diarrhea.
  • Stuffy nose or sneezing.
  • Feeding problems or slow weight gain.

Q:

What should I do if I think my baby has NAS?

A:

Call your provider or the hospital right away. Your baby might need medicine, fluids or other interventions to help him feel better.

Q:

What else can I do to help my baby?

A:

  • Keep your baby in a quiet, darkened room.
  • Help your baby feel secure by using a special wrap called a swaddler or a sleep sack to keep him comfortable.
  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin — only in his diaper on bare chest.
  • Feed your baby smaller amounts more often if he is having trouble feeding. If you are concerned about your baby’s feeding, contact his doctor right away.
  • Breastfeed your baby. If you are still using drugs including marijuana, talk with your provider first.

Q:

What is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome?

A:

When a mom-to-be takes drugs during pregnancy —especially pain killers called opioids or heroin —they can be passed on to the baby. NAS happens when the baby is no longer exposed to the drugs and has withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Q:

What can I do to prevent NAS?

A:

You can prevent NAS by not taking any drugs during your pregnancy unless recommended by your doctor. If you are taking drugs already, talk to your doctor first before quitting. With certain drugs, quitting too quickly can hurt you and your baby.

Q:

When do the signs of NAS start?

A:

Usually within three days of birth, but sometimes symptoms may not happen for a few weeks.

Q:

What are the signs of NAS?

A:

  • Shaking, twitching muscles, or seizures.
  • Trouble breathing or breathing fast.
  • Fussiness, a lot of crying, or high-pitched crying.
  • Sweating, fever, or blotchy skin.
  • Trouble sleeping or a lot of yawning.
  • Throwing up or diarrhea.
  • Stuffy nose or sneezing.
  • Feeding problems or slow weight gain.

Q:

What should I do if I think my baby has NAS?

A:

Call your provider or the hospital right away. Your baby might need medicine, fluids or other interventions to help him feel better.

Q:

What else can I do to help my baby?

A:

  • Keep your baby in a quiet, darkened room.
  • Help your baby feel secure by using a special wrap called a swaddler or a sleep sack to keep him comfortable.
  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin — only in his diaper on bare chest.
  • Feed your baby smaller amounts more often if he is having trouble feeding. If you are concerned about your baby’s feeding, contact his doctor right away.
  • Breastfeed your baby. If you are still using drugs including marijuana, talk with your provider first.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: