I don't know how to be a parent!

What will those first few moments as a parent hold for you? The questions below have been adapted from the Mother and Baby Friendly Care textbook for nurses, in order to empower new parents to recognise and ask for the best possible care during during this important time in their lives.

Q: When should the newborn baby be given to the mother?

A: With a normal delivery and a healthy mother and baby, the baby should be given to the mother as soon as possible after delivery. Usually this is done after the baby has been dried, briefly examined, the cord cut and the one minute Apgar score has been assessed.

Q: What should the mother be encouraged to do once her baby is given to her?

A: She should be encouraged to give kangaroo mother care with the baby placed on her naked chest. The baby can be covered with a dry, warm towel. Kangaroo mother care soon after delivery promotes bonding and successful breastfeeding. This may speed up the third stage of labour by stimulating uterine contractions.

Q: What is kangaroo mother care?

A: Kangaroo mother care (KMC) or skin-to-skin care, is a simple, easy method of caring for newborn infants where the mother uses her own body temperature to keep her infant warm. Kangaroo mother care is particularly useful for nursing low-birth-weight infants (infants with a birth weight below 2500g). KMC provides the infant with the basic needs for survival, i.e. mother’s warmth, stimulation, breast milk, love and protection.

Q: How does a mother give kangaroo mother care?

A: The almost-naked infant (wearing only a nappy, socks and woollen cap) is placed in an upright position between the mother’s bare breasts and then covered with a blanket or the mother's shirt. This skin-to-skin position is regarded as the optimal habitat or place for newborn babies because it calms newborns down. Newborns then often exhibit specific non-stress behaviour patterns such as ‘crawling’ towards the nipple and ‘self attachment’.

To buy this book contact Silma Parker at info@ebwhealthcare.com
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