September 10, 2019

Education sessions for first time parents

Taking care of a newborn can be difficult, especially for first time parents.

Our neonatal team has developed education sessions focusing on educating and empowering parents to look after their newborns in hospital and to help them have a smooth transition to home. In these sessions, parents, carers and family members can learn the standard practice of newborn care, before the baby leaves hospital.

Helen Opasinis and Elizabeth Psilos (Liz) are Pre-School Mothercraft Nurses and they run these sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays. They have been looking after newborns for more than 30 years and have a wealth of knowledge on newborn care.

“Liz and I started this program a couple of years ago and now we have decided to reintroduce it. Educating parents about basic newborn care would potentially minimise parental anxiety and help them provide adequate care to their precious babies at home,” Helen said.

Helen tries to cover as many areas as possible for the newborn baby care, and parents are encouraged to ask questions.

“Parents often get different advice from different people, but my main advice would be to trust your own judgement. Mums who give birth at Northern Health are encouraged to attend these sessions and bring their partners, parents and a friend if they wish to do so,” she said.

Marama Taunoa is a first time mum and none of her friends have a baby.

“I’ve found these sessions very informative. For example, I didn’t know anything about thrush with babies before. I am a new mum and don’t have any friends that have children. It’s very good to have these types of sessions, so when you get home with your baby, you know what type of care to give. My son is just a week old today,” she said.

Mini Varughese, Associate Nurse Unit Manager of Neonatal Unit (NNU), said the main idea behind these sessions is to help the parents to get to know their baby and get them involved in newborn care in the hospital, so that they are well equipped and confident to look after them at home.

“First time parents might need to develop parenting skills and these sessions cover basic care for baby’s eyes, ears, mouth and care of cord. They also learn about sleeping patterns, breast feeding routines, care of skin and fontanelles and when and how to get help if needed,” she explained.

Caitlin Francis, third year student of Nursing and Midwifery at La Trobe University also participated in the session.

“I like these sessions a lot. I came in to get the education and I feel now I know what to tell mothers. This is definitely something I would like to do some day,” she said.

Elizabeth Psilos with Shveta Kanwar and Chautiece Beasley who attended the session

Featured Image (left to right): Caitlin Francis, Student; Marama Taunoa, new mum; Helen Opasinis, Educator; Brooke Farrell, new mum; Sonia Paul, Registered Nurse NNU; Mini Varughese, ANUM NNU.