Eat, Sleep and Console: A Family-centered Approach for Substance-exposed Newborns


At Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center, we are proud to have adopted the Eat, Sleep, Console (ESC), an evidence-based, patient and family-centered model to safely manage withdrawal symptoms and provide the best of care possible for both mom and baby.

Are you concerned that your new baby may be born exposed to certain medications or opioids? After infants come into the world, if they were substance-exposed in the uterus they may experience withdrawal symptoms, so it is best to seek out care in advance.

Our dedicated Eat, Sleep, Console team are here to help you and your family develop the skills needed to care for your little one. Through this model, we have successfully shorten hospital stays and decreased pharmacological use often needed with treating substance-exposed infants who experience withdrawals or what is commonly referred to as neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS.

Understanding Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Symptoms

Many babies start to experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as 24 to 48 hours after birth, and in some cases, symptoms may first appear as late as 10 days after birth.

The most common symptoms in full-term babies include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fever or unstable temperature
  • Hyperactive reflexes
  • Irritability, excessive or high-pitched crying
  • Poor feeding and sucking
  • Sweating
  • Tight muscle tone
  • Tremors (trembling)
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Yawning, stuffy nose, and sneezing

How Eat, Sleep and Console Works

Eat, Sleep, Console uses the “Moms Over Medicine” or MOM model to help patients. In other words, you, as mom, actually becomes the treatment for your baby. You and/or caregivers are empowered, supported and mentored by specialized, trained Dignity Health nurses and staff. You are taught techniques from how to care for your baby and how to best manage any NAS symptoms while in the hospital as well as at home.

We look at if your baby can eat, sleep and be consoled in order to assess how your baby is proceeding, and hopefully thriving.

The goal is for you or other designated family members to stay at the bedside the entire time to take care of your baby because we believe your baby will do best with you. Members of our team will be there to assist you if you need to leave the room for an appointment or another commitment. And a room with a bed and bathroom will be available to you.

If you think your baby may be born substance-exposed, schedule an appointment with our Eat, Sleep, Console team for an intake assessment, or contact your physician for a referral.

For more information, call 480.392.6768

Download our brochure to learn more