Most new parents are unfamiliar with Down syndrome—what it is and how it will affect their child and family. Certainly, this contributes to their apprehension about their child’s well-being and their ability to cope and provide for their child as they wish. These feelings may prolong and intensify the normal adjustments a family makes as it welcomes any new member. We want you to know that you have support in dealing with the new concerns that your child brings. We are here to help!
New and Expecting Parents
Whether you are celebrating your child’s birth or anticipating his or her arrival, we congratulate you!
We also understand you have tons of questions as you approach your new journey. Our Expectant Parent’s Guide answers questions such as:
- If I was told my baby might have Down syndrome, what should I expect?
- What should I know if a screening test is recommended? Prenatal screening for Down syndrome: Know your options.
- Will having a baby with Down syndrome change my pregnancy?
We know this journey is not without its unique challenges and new experiences, but rest assured, you are not alone. Instead, you have become part of a large, deeply caring, and warmly welcoming community.
The New Parent Packet includes:
- Understanding Down syndrome.
- Get Educated with Language Guidelines.
- Developmental Expectations and Medical Issues.
- What Parents Wished They’d Known.
- Early Intervention Information and more.
New Parent Packet
Babies with Down Syndrome have a higher risk of infection. The mother’s body makes antibodies, which she passes on to her baby during breastfeeding. Antibodies help protect your baby against infection. There are many different advantages to breastfeeding, but not all babies will be breastfed.
According to the information provided by Candian Down Syndrome Society, babies with Down syndrome may have a protruding tongue that can push against your nipple. This may pose a challenge for your baby when latching on, as he may push the nipple out of his mouth. If your baby is latched on properly, you should be able to see his tongue cupped under the breast, resting on his lower gum.
The Canadian Down Syndrome Society has great resources for breastfeeding. Breastfeeding a Baby with Down syndrome.
Other blogs where moms offer detailed descriptions of their own breastfeeding experiences include the following:
Each baby is different when it comes to feeding. When bottle feeding you may also run into the same latching issues with nursing. You may need to try different bottle nipple types, including some that slow the flow of liquids, before finding one that works best for your infant.
Talk Down syndrome gives insight into information on techniques for bottle-feeding a baby with down syndrome. Talk DS
Down Syndrome Ireland provides information intended to be used as a reference for the first 2 or 3 years of a baby’s life. It goes into details about the oral phase. Supporting Feeding & Oral Development in Young Children.
Children with Down syndrome typically have some delays in the different areas of development. It is important to remember that almost all children with Down syndrome reach developmental milestones at different rates. This guide includes:
- Rolling over
A child with Down syndrome has unique educational needs to be addressed. The efforts of the NDSC, together with the larger disabilities community, have made great strides toward securing quality education for all people with cognitive disabilities. The most common early intervention services for babies with Down syndrome are physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy.
What is early intervention?
Early intervention refers to a range of specialized programs and resources that professionals provide to very young children with Down syndrome and their families. These professionals may include special educators, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and social workers.
For more information download our Early Intervention-Speech and Language Resources packet below which includes questions you may have such as:
- How do I find out if my child is eligible for services?
- Can I get help to pay for early intervention?
- Why are speech and language early intervention essential to development?
- Why is physical therapy important for individuals with Down syndrome?
Libby Kumin provides a great insight into the different communication milestones of a baby with Down syndrome in her book Early Communication Skills for Children with Down Syndrome.
Getting Prepared to Enter the School System
If you have a child receiving early intervention services, it is important to know that the 3rd birthday is a time when there can be many changes to service delivery and funding sources. Just before a child turns 3, a transition meeting by the school system is held so that the change in services your child receives is seamless. Once a child turns 3 years old they are eligible to enter the school system into pre-k.
You can check out our ages 3-5 page for more information on IEP’s, transition, and early intervention services provided by the school system.