A new approach called “Eat, Sleep, Console” results in shorter hospital stays and a reduced need for medication in newborns exposed to opioids during pregnancy, CNN reports.
Newborns exposed to opioids during pregnancy may develop symptoms of opioid withdrawal including tremors, excessive crying and irritability and problems with sleeping and feeding, according to a National Institutes of Health news release.
The current standard involves a nurse measuring a baby’s withdrawal symptoms before providing treatment such as methadone or morphine. The Eat, Sleep, Console approach emphasizes parental involvement and care that does not involve medication, including swaddling, skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding.
In the new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers compared the current standard for caring for infants exposed to opioids with the new approach. They evaluated 1,300 infants at 26 U.S. hospitals. Newborns cared for with the Eat, Sleep, Console approach were medically ready for discharge approximately 6.7 days earlier and 63% less likely to receive medication as part of their treatment, compared to newborns cared for with the standard approach.