Doctors reveals how to spot your baby is in pain but not crying

Doctors reveals how to spot your baby is in pain but not crying

HAVING a baby can be stressful and it's hard to know how to help little ones when they can't communicate verbally.

Usually babies will scream or cry if they need something from you, but doctors have now warned that this might not always be the case.

Australian scientists said there are many reasons as to why young children might not show the usual signs of pain, such as crying or screaming.

Study lead Dr Emre Ilhan, said there are signs you should look out for that aren't always obvious.

Dr Ilham, of Macquarie University, said babies who don't display traditional signs, are usually 'so critically ill, they tend to be so sick they can't cry'.

He said that these babies may also have been born premature, which in some cases means they have not yet developed the motor skills to cry.

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“There are other cues that are also important, and they’re very relevant to premature babies – so, physiological measures such as heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure", he told 7News.

Dr Ilham explained that if a child has altered facial expressions and a change in body movement, then this could also signal pain.

But he said if you have a baby who doesn't cry often – it doesn't always mean they are in pain and that in fact, they could just be hungry.

He explained that babies he treats in intensive care that are suffering with severe pain may also show the following signs:

  • not interacting with parents or care givers
  • not eating properly
  • experiencing sleeplessness

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Led by Dr Ilham, experts conducted the study which helped them to develop definitions of pain for infants.

They looked specifically at children with acute episodic and chronic pain and found that this can damage a child's ability to bond with their parents.

Dr Illham said that when babies are exposed to intense pain from birth in intensive care it can result in the following:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • hyper-sensitivity to pain in adulthood
  • delay in learning movement skills
  • delay in language skills
  • delay in cognitive skills

He explained that it wasn't until the mid 1980s that babies were receiving pain relief and that many children were having serious procedures without any medication.

Now he said, intensive care units do an excellent job of managing pain, but that detection of pain in children can still be difficult.

“If they have very severe conditions or are born very premature, the detection of pain in these babies can be very difficult.

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“Putting a mother’s baby on her skin during a painful procedure has been shown to be effective in relieving pain in babies", he added.

If you are concerned about your child then see you GP, you should always dial 999 in the case of an emergency.

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