Caring for a baby when you have epilepsy

17th December 2018

Many new mothers and fathers who have epilepsy will be anxious about how their epilepsy will affect their ability to care for a baby. Let us assure you that there are many new parents out there who are facing the same issues successfully. There is no reason that you can’t be as involved as any parent and help to raise your child effectively. However, we would always recommend that you plan ahead and exercise additional care when looking after your newborn.

Here are a few tips for common issues:

Bathing

Bathing a baby can carry an additional risk when you have epilepsy, especially if you are alone. Should you have a seizure whilst bathing a newborn it can be really dangerous. Remember, it’s possible for a newborn to drown in even a few inches of water. We would recommend that if you are alone you ‘top and tail’ them, which means washing the baby from a shallow bowl of water, rather than submerging them at all.  

Changing nappies and dressing

When changing nappies or dressing a newborn, it’s quite common to do so on a raised surface, such as a changing table. However, should you have a seizure during it can be dangerous. It’s much safer to change your baby on the floor with plenty of padding around to avoid the chance of your baby falling.

Another tip might be to keep nappies and changing supplies on each floor of the house. This will limit the number of times you need to walk up and downstairs with your baby, which is safer. If you are worried about walking up and downstairs with your baby due to the chance of seizures, you might consider using a car seat to provide some protection should you fall.

Feeding

Similar to changing, we recommend that when feeding a baby you do so on the floor surrounded by plenty of padding. Make sure your back is well supported to limit the chance of your baby falling onto a hard surface in the event of a seizure.

If your epilepsy causes you to become confused or experience memory loss, we would recommend that you make notes of when you have fed your baby and label up food and milk containers meticulously. This will help to prevent you from over or underfeeding.

During and after a seizure…

After a seizure, the best thing would be to ask a partner, friend or family member to take responsibility for your baby, especially if you tend to fall asleep. You may need time to rest and recover.

Be extra careful during this time, make sure you have taken all precautions and your environment is as hazard-free as possible. This might include not carrying your baby up or down stairs, or using any hazardous equipment, such as an oven or iron. Use a pushchair whilst moving your baby to limit the chances of them becoming harmed should you fall.

You might consider giving a neighbour a spare key for emergencies. Make it as easy as possible for someone to get to you should the need arise. Don’t leave your key in a locked door that might prevent someone gaining access in case of an emergency.

National Epilepsy Training can help

For more information on caring for a newborn when you have epilepsy or to enquire about our care services, call us on 01706 373075 or email admin@nationalepilepsytraining.co.uk.