Have you recently given birth to “your bundle from heaven?” Has your baby’s doctor performed the mandatory screenings that are done soon after birth? Have you heard about the various conditions that can affect a newborn baby or would you like to be enlightened about them?
Your infant will be screened soon after birth to look for any conditions that may be present at that time. One such condition that may come up is brittle bone disease. Read on to know what it means and learn how to take care of your infant ,when he or she is a victim of this disease.
What Is Brittle Bone Disease In Infants?
As the name almost suggests, brittle bone disease means a condition where your infant’s bones are imperfectly formed. It also means that your infant’s bones are ‘brittle’, implying they are prone to fracture easily. The condition is also called osteogenesis imperfecta in babies. (1).
What Causes Brittle Bone Disease In Infants?
In all cases, the condition of brittle bones is present right from the time of birth. However, this does not imply that you and your partner are responsible for this condition. Brittle bone disease in babies is a genetic disorder. It happens as a result of abnormalities in those genes that control the production of collagen.
Collagen is a protein that is very important for bone strength and is considered to be the most important protein in the bones. In cases where one of the parents suffers from this condition, it is passed on to the next generation. The severity of the condition in such a case will be mild. In cases where the condition is severe, there will be a strong case of the same in the family’s medical history. (2)
What Are The Symptoms Of Brittle Bone Disease?
In many cases, the symptoms of brittle bone disease are not diagnosed at the time of infancy. As the baby grows up, the symptoms can start getting more and more prominent. The symptoms will also vary a lot depending on the severity and the age. Keep a look out for the following symptoms: (3)
- The average height of the child is less than what it should be.
- Bone fractures happening multiple times.
- Difficulty in hearing or hearing impaired at a very young age (also known as deafness).
- Flat feet.
- Poor teeth and dental condition.
- Scoliosis (also known as S curve spine).
- Bowed legs and arms.
[ Read: Bow Legs In Babies ]
How To Take Care Of An Infant With Brittle Bone Disease:
Your infant’s doctor will tell you about the various treatment options that are available for that particular age. However, as a parent, you can take care of your infant by following a few extra and precautious steps. Taking care of your infant who has brittle bone disease is not much different than taking care of an infant who does not have it.
You just need to take a little more care than usual. Here are some ways in which you can make life a little easier for your new born baby): (4)
[ Read: Signs Of Hearing Loss In Babies ]
1. Placing Your Infant In A Car Seat Or Stroller:
A car seat is mandatory before you will be allowed to take your infant back home from the hospital.
Look for an infant car seat that can recline as far back as possible. Also, check how difficult or easy it will be for you to place your infant in the seat.
You can add some extra padding to the seat to make it more comfortable and soft on the insides. Padding can be easily bought at your local medical store or even at a local fabric store.
You can add a layer of foam between the harnesses to add some extra protection for your infant. Some brands also manufacture car seats that cater to infants and children who have brittle bone disease.
You may want to find something that is designed especially for this purpose. Make sure that you place the infant car seat in the back seat and not the front. You should also not place it near an airbag. Look for a stroller that will recline as much as possible. Additional features should include proper leg rest and correct spine posture.
2. Clothes And Bath Time:
Heat and warm temperatures will make your infant more uncomfortable.
Dress your infant in clothes that are light-weight and absorb sweat easily.
Find a bathing aid that you can lay at the bottom of the tub. The most popular ones are the ones that come in a baby shape cutout.
Once your infant can sit up, you can get a safety bath ring that you can attach to the floor of the. If your infant is in a cast, give him a sponge bath. If your infant has a sling on, you can give him a regular bath but ensure the sling does not get wet.
How To Know If Your Infant Has A Fracture And What To Do?
It can be quite difficult to locate a fracture in your infant. It is a difficult situation for a parent, and we understand the emotional concerns. Watch out for the following signs to help you spot the symptoms at the earliest: (5)
Your infant may cry out suddenly without any obvious reason. In some cases, you may hear a bone snap. Help your infant to calm down first. Once your infant has stopped crying or is crying considerably less, try to very gently touch his limbs and bones.
If a particular bone is fractured, your infant will cry out immediately when you touch it. You will be able to identify the bone that may have fractured. Very gently lift up your infant and place him safely in the car seat.
Make sure that the fractured bone does not touch upon anything as it will aggravate the pain. Drive very slowly and carefully to avoid further pain.
Brittle bone disease in your infant can be a very painful condition, both for your infant as well as for you. Do not blame yourself. Be brave and look out for the signs. Get in touch with your doctor immediately if you suspect your infant is affected.
Did your infant suffer from the brittle bone condition? When did you find out? What did you do about it and what special care did you take? Do share your experiences here.
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