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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Down syndrome is a condition that occurs when a baby is born with an extra chromosome. Chromosomes are groups of genes that tell the body how to grow and function. This extra chromosome causes certain physical features and delays in physical and mental development. It also increases your child's risk of certain health problems. The cause of the extra chromosome is not known. A woman's risk of having a baby with Down syndrome increases with age.
Follow up with your baby's pediatrician:
Your baby will need regular checkups. He may need more blood tests and exams. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Help your baby reach his physical and mental potential:
- Take part in early intervention. Early intervention is a program of therapy, exercises, and activities that will help your baby with developmental delays during his first 5 years. Early intervention may consist of occupational, physical, and speech therapy.
- Schedule regular checkups with your baby's pediatrician. Frequent checkups will be needed because he is at risk for medical conditions and developmental problems. Your baby's pediatrician will closely monitor his growth, development, and general health. Your baby will need regular physical, hearing, and eye exams.
- Vaccinate and immunize your baby against illness. Your baby should receive all recommended vaccines. Ask your baby's pediatrician about flu immunizations.
Feeding your baby:
- Your baby may have trouble breastfeeding because of poor muscle tone. A lactation consultant can help you if your baby is having trouble latching on. A lactation consultant also can teach you how to pump and store breast milk.
- Your baby may have trouble swallowing or have other feeding problems. Your baby's pediatrician may recommend that you take your baby to a feeding specialist.
When your baby begins to eat solid foods, he may have trouble with constipation. Give your baby extra fluids and fiber. Foods that are high in fiber are fruits and vegetables. Talk with your baby's pediatrician if his constipation does not go away.
For support and more information:
- National Down Syndrome Society
New York , NY 10012
Web Address: www.ndss.org
Contact your baby's pediatrician if:
- Your baby has a fever.
- You are having trouble feeding your baby, and you feel he is not getting enough to eat.
- You have questions or concerns about your baby's condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your baby is breathing faster than usual.
- Your baby's breathing is noisy.
- The area between or under your baby's ribs pulls inward as he breathes in.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.