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Feeding Issues in Substance Exposed Infants

Duration:60 minutes


With the national increase in substance use, the resulting impact on infants and young children is immense. Not only does it affect them medically and developmentally, but also it affects their relationship with their primary caregiver. Infants who may have been exposed to substances in utero are predisposed to challenging eating behavior.

The baby may have gastrointestinal distress, irritability, difficulty with managing arousal and sleep. Studies of babies who have been exposed to certain substances have documented challenges with development of regulated eating behaviors, which are early indicators of possible long-term regulatory challenges.

Additionally, the primary caregiver, often the mother, may not be able to read the baby’s hunger behavior and may have difficulty with engaging with an irritable or sleepy baby. The caregivers who continue to use substances may be less cognitively and emotionally available to respond to the baby’s expressed needs for nurturing. Feeding interactions in substance exposed infants need appropriate assessment and intervention to not only assist with the baby’s regulation and development of eating skills, but also to support a nurturing feeding relationship.

Price $25

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Joy Browne Ph.D, PCNS, IMH-E (IV)

Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, Director, Center for Family and Infant Interaction and Fragile Infant Feeding Institute, JFK Partners, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Joy V. Browne, Ph.D, PCNS, IMH-E (IV) is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She holds dual licensure as a Pediatric Psychologist and a Clinical Nurse Specialist. She is Director of the Center for Family and Infant Interaction, a component of JFK Partners, Colorado's University Center of Excellence for Developmental Disabilities. She also is the director of WONDERbabies which provides training in the BABIES and PreSTEPS Model, the Family Infant Relationship Support Training (FIRST) programs and the Fragile Infant Feeding Institute. She is a Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) Master Trainer and an Assessment of term and Preterm Infant Behavior (APIB) trainer. Her area of expertise is in neurobehavioral assessment and intervention with high-risk infants and their families, as well as systems change toward developmentally supportive and family centered care in both hospital and community settings. Dr. Browne developed BEGINNINGS, an interim Individualized Family Service Plan for newborns with special needs. She is a Zero to Three Graduate Fellow, founder and past president of the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health, and a Board Member for the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health. Dr. Browne serves on the Medical Professional Council for Feeding Matters.

Feeding Issues in Substance Exposed Infants
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