Infant Care for First Time Parents Essay Example
Are you familiar with the care of your baby after birth? Are you ready for the big change? Being a new parent is a big and challenging transition in a family relationship. In research from Wiklund et al., (2018, p. 37), it is important to see parents and children as a whole unit, and both parent's ability to exercise parenthood is assured. As a nurse, I need to educate first-time parents about their baby's care by teaching them the importance of skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, and basic sleeping information.
Skin-to-skin or kangaroo care is when a baby is placed in the mother's bare chest after birth. This technique has many advantages between the parents and infant (Kahalon et al., 2021). Leifer (2019) conducted three main reasons why parents need to do skin-to-skin contact immediately after delivery (pp.469-470). Due to the reason that the baby is still adapting to their new environment, skin-to-skin contact is necessary to maintain the newborn's temperature to avoid a rapid heat loss (hypothermia). Skin-to-skin contact promotes parent-newborn bonding that increases the parent's confidence when holding their newborn infant. Kangaroo care promotes better breastfeeding response, making it easier for the parents when responding to the infant's cues (hunger cues) or when their baby is full. To sum it up, skin-to-skin contact needs to be encouraged right after birth for parents and infant benefits.
Pediatricians and Gynecologists strongly recommend that the mother breastfeed their infants for the next six months of the infant's life. The advantage of breastfeeding is it provides natural immunity, reduces childhood respiratory disorders and diabetes, is easily digested by the infant's maturing digestive system, prevents Jaundice, and enhances the close-mother relationship many more (Leifer, 2019, p. 466). It is also helpful for the parent to learn when the infant is hungry (hunger cues); due to the sucking reflex of the baby, many parents often misinterpret their baby's body language resulting in excessive breastfeeding. Some hunger cues include: bringing your baby's hand to his mouth, rooting or moving his head as if looking for the nipple, opening his mouth, sticking tongue, licking his lips and sucking and crying is a late sign of hunger (HealthyFamilies BC, 2013, 00:51–01:10). Parenting in Ottawa (2002) concluded that the indications that the infant is full are when the baby looks calm and relaxed, turns away from the breast and closes their mouth. It is also a reminder for mothers that breastfeeding's total duration is 15 minutes per breast and occurs eight times per day. Breastfeeding helps mom-infant bonding; it allows both to get to know each other; it builds the infant's trust and gains mothers confidence.
A newborn sleeps for approximately 15 to 20 hours a day (Leifer, P.581). Parents are encouraged to check for their baby frequently, particularly when they are sleeping; that is why they need to learn basic sleeping information, including; proper sleeping position, what to check when baby is sleeping and when to wake up the baby. According to Hunt & Hauck (2006, p. 1861), Sudden infant death syndrome is a well-known cause of neonatal infant death. Infants are constantly moving even when they are sleeping. Many healthcare workers advised that to prevent SIDS, the infant should be in a supine position, parents should be in the same room with the infant, routine breastfeeding, avoid over swaddling and encourage bassinet with free from any pillows or toys (Working with Families to Promote Safe Sleep for Infants 0–12 Months of Age, 2014, pp.19-20). Sleeping in a prone position and over bundling can cause suffocation, asphyxia, bradycardia, hypotension, ineffectual gasping and entrapment, causing quick death to the baby (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011, p. 1346). According to Ottawa Public Health (2018), parents need to monitor their baby frequently when sleeping because not only to prevent SIDS but to check if the infant is experiencing Jaundice. Jaundice is common in a newborn, but it can be severe; it is when the baby's skin and the white of the eyes turn yellow due to the liver's low process to remove the bilirubin in the infant's body. One of the many symptoms of Jaundice is sleepiness, hard to wake the baby, and it can sleep during feeding (Working with Families to Promote Safe Sleep for Infants 0–12 Months of Age, 2014, 03:17). Due to long hours of sleeping, parents are encouraged to wake their baby every after 3 to 4 hours especially for breastfeeding, to check for the baby's position to prevent neonatal death, and Jaundice.
Being a new parent is never easy. However, to become a prepared parent it is helpful to know the advantages of skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding techniques, and infant sleeping information. These are the effective ways on achieving success in basic proper care with your newborn.