A lot has changed in newborn care over the last few decades. From tummy
time to safe sleeping (back only), and infant CPR to car seat safety,
there are some important updates in infant care best practices that contemporary
grandparents should know. As an experienced grandmother of three, CVMC
Health First Operations Specialist, Ella Thompson enjoys sharing her experiences
and connecting other grandparents to CVMC resources to empower them as
they assimilate into the new role of being a grandparent who supports
the expanding family’s decisions to care for a newborn with safety
and health as a top priority.
Some of the more important baby care updates concern sleeping and creating
a circle of protection by vaccinating those who come in close contact
with newborns to minimize the possible transmission of pertussis (whooping
cough), the flu and other contagious diseases.
For Sleeping Infants, Back is Best
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that healthy infants be placed
on their backs as the safest sleeping position. Putting your baby to sleep
on his or her back decreases the chance of sudden infant death syndrome
(SIDS), which is responsible for more infant deaths in the United States
than any other cause during the first year of life.
Hillery Thacker, CVMC Professional Development Coordinator for Neonatal
Nurseries and Pediatrics has been instrumental in developing an aggressive
awareness program locally to promote infant safe sleep policies and educate
parents on the best practices. CVMC is a designated Infant Safe Sleep
Hospital Leader for parent education efforts by the North Carolina Healthy
Start Foundation. Here are the guidelines you need to know:
- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night,
to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib,
covered by a fitted sheet, to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related
causes of infant death.
- Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone,
with you, or with anyone else.
- Keep soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, and loose bedding out of your baby’s
sleep area to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of
Staying Updated on Vaccinations & Immunizations
Here are the top vaccines that grandparents should consider, even before
the new baby arrives and why:
Whooping Cough /
Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) – in recent years, there has been an increase in whooping cough
(pertussis). Babies are at greatest risk for getting pertussis and then
having serious complications from it, including death. You can help provide
indirect protection by making sure everyone who is around your baby is
up-to-date with their whooping cough vaccine. When your baby’s family
members and caregivers get vaccinated or receive a whooping cough vaccine
booster, they are not only protecting their own health, but also helping
form a “cocoon” of disease protection around the baby during
the first few months of life.
- Get a Flu Shot – an annual flu vaccine protects you and your grandkids
from getting sick. Because their immune systems aren’t fully developed,
children have a high risk for contracting the flu. Babies under the age
of 6 months are too young to receive a flu shot. The CDC recommends that
all adults get a flu shot every flu season.
In addition to whooping cough and flu, ask your primary care provider about
other recommendations based on your age and health history. Vaccinations
for shingles, pneumonia or a Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) booster may also
Ella says that she didn’t need a class to pick up her favorite piece
of grandparenting advice: “Spoil your grandbaby. That’s an absolute requirement.” She does, however, suggest brushing up on current recommendations
by checking out the CVMC schedule of upcoming classes for baby care. The
most in-demand classes for new grandparents are:
Baby Basics 101 – CVMC’s basic baby care class teaches the skills needed to
care for newborns through one year of age.
Infant CPR – For expectant parents and grand-parents, this class teaches proper
techniques for infant CPR and choking. Classes are small to allow individual
instruction. This is not a CPR certification class.
Infant Car Seat Class – Car seats save lives, but only when used correctly. Parents learn
how to choose and install a rear-facing infant car seat and safely secure
their newborn. It is recommended that infant car seats be installed in
the middle of the back seat, rear facing.
Previously located at the Health First Center in Valley Hills Mall, CVMC
Maternal Child Education (The POD) classes are now located on the ground
floor of the Women & Children Pavilion at the hospital. Please view
our online calendar to see the upcoming class schedule, or call The POD