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St. Agnes changes baby, new mother care
December 11, 2013

The birth of a baby is one of life’s most wondrous moments. Few experiences compare to this event. Newborn babies have amazing abilities, yet they are completely dependent on others for feeding, warmth and comfort.

For new moms, the postpartum period involves the mother progressing through many changes, both emotionally and physically, while learning how to deal with all the changes and adjustments required in becoming a new mother. The postpartum period also involves the parents learning how to care for their newborn and learning how to function as a changed family unit.

At the Women & Infants Unit at St. Agnes Hospital, families will benefit from a new nursing process, where one nurse will be caring for both new mother and baby in the comfort and convenience of their hospital room.

“There are so many benefits to having the same nurse care for both mom and baby,” says Donna Weir, director of St. Agnes Hospital Women & Infants Unit. “The nurse can focus more concentrated time with new moms on communicating important items, like breastfeeding. In these instances, nurses are aware of how feelings affect a baby, and how the infant’s responses and behaviors may affect mom.

“It also gives the new mom the benefits of having questions about their baby answered more quickly, gaining more confidence in their baby-care skills, and having a greater peace of mind because the baby is getting the best care possible and they can see that on a continual basis.”

This nursing model gives greater flexibility in care between both the baby and mom. “Nurses spend their time caring for the mother and baby, not moving the baby between the mother’s room and the nursery,” Weir says.

The new mother may request that her baby be cared for in the nursery for a short time so she can shower or have some quiet time. Moms can push their babies in their bassinets to the nursery or ask their nurse for assistance.

“It is my hope that new mothers will feel more emotionally involved with their newborns and more confident in their abilities going home with their newborns,” Weir says. “Mothers begin to recognize babies’ cues and respond appropriately to them. Babies start developing trust and a sense of security.”

It’s a great opportunity for patient education, as a nurse can point out particular infant behaviors while caring for the baby in front of the mother.

“While the nurse is the baby’s primary caregiver, the mother is encouraged to do as much baby care as she wishes,” Weir says. “The baby stays in the mother’s room for routine care such as nursing assessments and temperature taking.”

Nurses care for both mother and baby, promote bonding and ensure attachments within the new family. “In fact, the mother-baby nurse cares for the whole family, including dad, other loved ones - whomever the new mother considers family,” Weir explains. “Mother-baby care is flexible, and tailored to meet the needs of the family - not a rigid hospital schedule.”

To learn more or ask questions, call the St. Agnes Hospital Women & Infants Unit at (920) 926-4800.

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