Dealing with Body Fluids in Children with Special Needs


Foster care / Monday, April 27th, 2015

Our time with Angel Boy is ticking down, down, down. We feel joy in the success of his family, and sorrow at the thought of letting him go. It’s been an intense seven months, in which we learned more than we taught. Some things were very hard, and I will not miss them, but oh, so many I will…

This post will mean little to many of you, but I put it out there because I want to pass on the things it took us too long to learn.

Mothering any child exposes you to all types of body fluids, but when we began parenting a preschooler with Angelman’s Syndrome, on a liquid diet, not potty trained, and prone to everything from gagging to nosebleeds, our experience with childish fluids went to a whole new level. I remember the day when, desperate for answers, I googled “dealing with drool in large kids.”

Here are some things that helped us. I share them on the off chance that they will help you too.

1. Wet wipes—lots and lots of wipes

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Just keep them on hand, tucked in your purse, in your vehicle, in various rooms of the house. You will need them for diaper changes, spills, leaks, mishaps, and random boogers.

2. Waterproof pillowcases

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After we got tired of buying new pillows, we stumbled on this easy fix. Now, drool in the night or throw-up episodes don’t ruin the pillow. We layer the waterproof case between the pillow and a traditional cloth case.

3. Washable bed pads

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They work like a charm. These are quilted for thickness and durability, lined with waterproof fabric on the back. They absorb any liquid and protect a mattress.

4. One-piece pajamas

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I will say this as briefly and respectfully as possible: in case you haven’t noticed yet, kids are squirmers, disarrangers, and explorers. Sensory kids? Doubly so. One-piece, footed PJ’s keep a child’s diaper in place. We went from “regularly soaked through by morning” to “comfortable, dry, and as it should be.”

And lastly…

5. Big-boy bibs

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Some people call them bandana bibs, for their rodeo look. You can make your own, or buy them online. They combine a suave older-boy look with great protection for clothes. Flannel bibs for light droolers, terry cloth for heavy hitters. If you line them with waterproof fabric, they won’t soak through to clothing. I never got my pattern quite down before Angel Boy’s drooling dried up as suddenly as it had sprung.

Thank you, Jesus.

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Shaunda
7 years ago

A few random comments…

You’ve done so well with this little guy. I could cry for joy because of the way he’s been loved and tenderly cared for the last 6 months by you and your family.

The picture of the your hands on your blog header is just beautiful.

I’m a fan of the quilted water proof mattress pads you mentioned. I wish I would have thought to lend you one when you began dealing with this issue. I have been using them for a number of years for my toddlers. They save so much laundering!!!

7 years ago

Shari, this is a beautiful post on so many levels. It is deeply moving for various reasons. But I have to admit to chuckling at this: ” will say this as briefly and respectfully as possible: in case you haven’t noticed yet, kids are squirmers, disarrangers, and explorers. Sensory kids? Doubly so.” As an adoptive Mamma of a kid from an orphanage, I’ve seen or heard pretty much every story you can imagine from other adoptive Moms of kiddos from similar situations. The damage done to a child by neglect and abuse and lack of normal day-to-day mental and physical stimulation, can lead to some real stories. So you are not alone.

janelle
7 years ago

I’m thinking of your family and of Angel Boy as the days tick closer… You have indeed done very well. Thanking God that His grace is already ahead of you, and will be there to carry your family and Angel Boy and his family through the transition.

Angie
3 years ago

Thanks for a very useful post! We’ve been doing most of these tips for a while now and they seem to be working well. I love the notion of having wet wipes within arms reach, it’s always when you need them in a hurry that you cant find the darn packet. Our beautiful boy is just 13 now and we still face the many challenges of providing high fidelity care to an older child. Challenges we gladly endure for our little guy. We still have to diaper him unfortunately and we’ve found that the one piece style pyjamas work really well with not only keeping him comfortable but also at keeping his stray hands from wandering where they shouldn’t i.e his diaper! The onesie footed style pj’s seem to work best with him. For public outings we often swap out the pj’s for a pair of overalls. We’ve found that they serve the same purpose with keeping everything tucked in and arranged. He does however have issues with the denim fabric so we’ve been exploring with overalls made from alternative fabrics.
The bandana bibs are great for our son as well, we made our own as most of the ones we found in stores weren’t suited for an older boy.