Readers Lounge By
Fredrick Beuchi Mboya
It’s not easy looking after babies and young children, as well as looking after yourself. Having epilepsy can add to the challenge. However, you may well be able to care for your child safely, sometimes with only a few minor adjustments.
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This guide is about keeping you, and your child, or any other child you are caring for, safe. Although some information here is specifically for mothers with epilepsy, the tips on keeping a child safe will be just as relevant for fathers or other caregivers with epilepsy.
Being a mum with uncontrolled seizures
Being a parent with uncontrolled seizures can cause concerns. Here are some of the concerns that parents with epilepsy identify with:
- Worrying about the child’s safety
- The insecurity brought on by unpredictable seizures
- The feelings of inadequacy and guilt of not being able to be the parent you want to be
- The worry of the children being ‘forced’ to take on more responsibility than their age mates
Having an awareness of these concerns puts you at a better place to find out what you can do so as to adequately deal with them.
Looking after yourself: Reducing your risk of seizures
It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re looking after a baby or young child. But it’s important to look after yourself too. While at it, you need to also try and avoid things that trigger your seizures.
Not everyone has triggers for their seizures, but knowing what your possible triggers are, and finding ways around them could make a difference.
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Keeping the baby safe
Bathing, changing and dressing
- Top and tail them, rather than bathing, if you are by yourself. This is where you wash your baby with water from a shallow bowl. If the baby can move around, make sure the bowl of water is out of their reach when they are not bathing
- Change them on the floor, rather than a changing table or bed
- Keep nappies and changing materials on each floor of the house. It’s safer than carrying the baby up and down stairs
- Feeding the baby; whether breast or bottle feeding, sit on the floor, on a thick rug, with your back well supported. It will stop the baby falling onto a hard surface on the off-chance that you have a seizure
- If your epilepsy medicine makes you feel confused, or have poor memory as some of the side effects, keep a note of when you fed the baby and how much they had. There are a number of different apps that could help you with this
Also, you can consider labeling food and milk containers with the date and time you prepared them
– The writer is the National Epilepsy Coordination Committee (NECC) National Secretary (Kenya), and an Epilepsy Awareness ambassador