Epilepsy South Africa
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Epilepsy and Children:Epilepsy During the First Two Years

What do seizure look like in the first two years?

Babies engage in many random movements. Co-ordination is just beginning to develop. What one side of the body is doing may not match what the other side is doing. Early in life babies have reflexes that are triggered by how they are moved or positioned. Twitches, jerks, staring, and stretching are all part of normal infant behavior. Seizures frequently look just like these normal behaviors. Often when parents find out that their baby is having seizures, they feel badly because they didn’t recognize the seizure sooner.

Particularly if this is your first child, you are working very hard to be a ‘good parent’. It is natural to think that you should know something is wrong.However; seizures during infancy are hard to diagnose just by watching a baby. Even physicians can make mistakes. Often, a physician needs an EEG to be sure that a behavior is a seizure. Sometimes a video EEG is used. This procedure involves the use of videotaping while your baby undergoes 24hours or more of EEG MONITORING. It allows you to mark the EEG record via a button press when you see the behavior that concerns you.

How do I know what my baby needs?

As you get acquainted with your baby, you develop a sense of what she needs. Some cries sound different from other cries. You get a sense of how your baby looks when she is happy and content, and how she looks when there is something wrong.Pediatic neurologists know something might be wrong with the nervous system. You develop similar ‘soft signs’ regarding your baby’s health and needs. When epilepsy is diagnosed, it may shake your confidence in your ability to read these ‘soft signs’. Don’t worry. Your sense of your baby and hr needs will quickly return as you become familiar wither seizures and medication effects.

What can I do to comfort my baby during and after seizures?

It is natural to want to protect your baby from any discomfort. During the seizures, your child is typically unaware what is happening. Although you may see, your child’s body jerk. He is not uncomfortable or in pain. However, there may be things that you can do during a seizure and immediately after wards o make sure that your child is safe. Your physical will be able to tell you what is important for you to do for your child’s type of seizures. It is unlikely that your baby will remember having a seizure. After seizures, your baby may be upset because he is confused.when a baby experience sudden body jerks (myoclonic jerks) he may be distressed because he has knocked over the block tower that he was building or dropped the food he was trying to eat. You can help your baby re-engage in the activity (e.g. rebuild the tower, offer a bite of food).Babies operates in the present. If you make his life fine, your baby will readily return to bring happy. Long before they understand words, babies can sense your emotion from the tone of your voice, change in your facial expression, and the quality of your touch.Comfort your child with the same things that work when others things have left him irritable and upset. Holding, rocking, and hearing a reassuring tone of your voice will help your baby feels secure. Your calm calms your child. For toddlers, it is helpful to tell them that they are OK. During the toddler years, you can use a word or phrase that describes what occurs during a seizure (e.g. ‘jerks, shakes’) to explain what has just happened. If you can be matter-of-fact (egg ‘That was just one of your jerks.’), your child will learn to feel that way about his seizures as well.

1 Reply

I do not have children but thank you for interesting information, which I know will be of use to mothers that do have little toddlers and don't understand epilepsy and how it works its way through the body. After 41 years' of experience, I am also here to give advice to anyone that might need it!


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