Advice for parents By Michelle Cumming, Operational Lead for Child and Family Family Nursing and Home Care. on Thursday 30 April 2020 Advice for parents Image

Advice for parents

From

It is okay if you feel worried, scared or overwhelmed at times, because parenting is always a challenge, (even though it is a rewarding one) – and the current situation can feel very unpredictable.

However, please don’t worry. We are here to support you, and so are many other people. Even if we can’t see you as much ‘face to face’ as we would normally, we are here to help. You will be allocated a health visitor from FNHC as usual, and that health visitor will be your point of contact for all your queries.

“Many congratulations on your new arrival. Being a new parent is never easy and we know that this is not the start of the parenting journey you had planned.

It is okay if you feel worried, scared or overwhelmed at times, because parenting is always a challenge, (even though it is a rewarding one) – and the current situation can feel very unpredictable.

However, please don’t worry. We are here to support you, and so are many other people. Even if we can’t see you as much ‘face to face’ as we would normally, we are here to help. You will be allocated a health visitor from FNHC as usual, and that health visitor will be your point of contact for all your queries.

We’re still contacting all new parents by phone, and if you need us to, we will come and see you. So, our expert health visitors are still here to offer you guidance despite the current situation.

Firstly, don’t expect anything to necessarily be routine as a newborn can change your life in every way. This is to be expected, and you must not expect too much of yourself. This is all brand new, so give yourself time to learn, and just try to enjoy being with your baby.

Some common issues we see the most are to do with feeding and sleeping. Remember that no two babies are identical, and it is common for babies to want to feed a lot, and to want to be held and cuddled.

Babies can hear from around the 24th week of pregnancy and your voice and smell will be very comforting to them; don’t be afraid to pick them up and comfort them when they cry, as these responses are very calming and soothing to infants.

Holding your newborn baby skin-to-skin can be a positive way to feel close and get to know one another. From around 2 months of age, your baby will be able to focus on your face more and more. And they’ll get reassurance if you talk to them and sing to them. This also has huge advantages in the baby’s development and sense of wellbeing.

Sleeping issues can be a big concern for parents. Please be reassured that, every day your baby will move through different states of wakefulness and sleepiness. Every baby does this in their own way, but learning to recognise your own baby’s pattern will help you to give your baby what they need in a way that helps them to feel cared for and understood by you.

There are 6 baby states: three awake states (quiet alert, unsettled and crying) and three sleep states (which are deep sleep, light sleep and drowsy sleep.) Babies move from one state to another very quickly and not always in the same order!

Understandably, a crying baby can cause parents worry. Babies in an unsettled state need a change of pace and might benefit from: 

  • a cuddle,
  • a feed (look for ‘feeding cues’ like lip smacking, sucking and ‘rooting’ (turning their head and opening their mouth - rooting is a reflex action in small babies and happens automatically if you stroke their cheek)
  • a drink of water
  • a nappy change
  • a position change
  • sleep
  • cooling or warmth.”

More resources:

Although we would always recommend that if parents are worried about their baby being ill they seek professional medical advice, there are some resources which they might find useful.

The Lullaby Trust Baby Check app:

Baby Check features 19 simple checks that parents can do if their baby is showing signs of illness. Each check tests for a different symptom and when completed, a score is calculated that tells parents or carers how ill their baby is. The app then lets parents know whether their baby needs to see a doctor or health professional.

https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/baby-check-app/?bblinkid=215118373&bbemailid=20573393&bbejrid=1443106281

 Advice for Parents Guide:

There is also a “traffic light colour” guide which has been produced locally (between FNHC and the Government of Jersey, with input from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) here:

https://www.fnhc.org.je/media/43269/covid19-adviceforparentsposterjerseyfinal.pdf