Disclosure :: As parents, some of us are sure of ourselves and others … not so much. Generally, though, parents have plentiful opportunities to take classes. But what about grandparents? Things have changed in the past several decades, and we are so thrilled that our sponsors, Touro Infirmary and The Parenting Center at Children’s Hospital, are offering their first class geared towards educating grandparents. They also have sponsored this post in which Cheryl Tschirn, RN, BSN, Community Educator at the Family Birth Center at Touro answers some very important questions about this topic.
Modern Day Grandparenting in New Orleans
Q: What are some of the most important updates in infant care?
A: * Safe Sleep reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The recommendation is that infants are placed on their backs to sleep on a firm surface with nothing else in the bed. The following are also recommended to reduce SIDS; Breastfeeding, NOT smoking around the baby, NOT putting the baby to sleep in an adult bed, couch, or to sleep with anyone else.
* Car Seat Safety. It is recommended that infant car seats be installed in the middle of the back seat, rear facing. State Police Troop B in Kenner, La installs car seats and provides instructions for free every Wednesday afternoon (provided by Trauma Services at the LSU Interim Hospital).
* Breastfeeding. Touro encourages and supports breastfeeding. Besides helping moms bond with their infant, breastfeeding can reduce the child’s risk of adult obesity and SIDS. The babies’ intestinal tract is designed to metabolize breast milk.
* Calming Techniques. There are many calming techniques that can help sooth baby, including swaddling and swaying. Learning how to “turn on” a baby’s five calming reflexes in a Kohl’s Happiest Baby class taught by The Parenting Center.
* Pacifiers. As part of our commitment to provide the best evidenced-based infant care, Touro no longer provide pacifiers to healthy infants. Pacifiers can interfere with breastfeeding and mask hunger cues. Pacifiers are only recommended after breastfeeding is well established.
Q: What are some of the current trends in childbirth and postpartum care?
A: * Natural. More women are choosing to labor and deliver without medication. They may choose a variety of prepared childbirth methods including self hypnosis or patterned breathing.
* Hydrotherapy/Waterbirth. Many women also find benefits from laboring in water. It can help decrease the pain from contractions and help mom feel more relaxed. We have three rooms at Touro that include indwelling spa tubs for mom’s comfort.
* Skin to Skin. Immediately after birth, babies are placed on mom’s chest for her and her partner to bond with their infant. Babies go through nine instinctive stages in the first hours after birth: the Birth Cry, Relaxation, Awaking, Activity, Rest, Crawling, Familiarization, Suckling and Sleep. The stages are instinctive and occur without intervention. It is a wonderful time for the new family to get to know one another.
* Mother/Baby. Babies that are doing well will stay with their parents for an extended period of time. It is calming for both the parents and infants. Many tests and assessments can be accomplished in the room.
Q: How can expecting grandparents best support parents throughout pregnancy and during labor and delivery?
A: Simply by being there for them. Supporting the choices they make for their pregnancy and birth of their child. Times and recommendations have changed but the love of parents for their child is timeless. Remember you raised them well.
Q: Why is it important for parents and grandparent to be up to date on vaccinations?
A: The TDaP ( Tetanus, Diptheris, acellular Pertussis) vaccine is given to prevent Pertussis (Whooping Cough). There is an increase in the number of Pertussis cases. The findings are that babies catch the disease from those around them that are carriers. The recommendation is to create a circle of protection around the baby by vaccinating those with whom the baby comes in contact. This circle would include parents, grandparents, siblings and childcare providers. The vaccine is widely available at Doctors offices, Local Health Departments and Pharmacies.
It is also important for caregivers of infants to receive an annual flu shot and be up-to-date with other vaccinations.
Do you know a new grandparent that is looking to learn more? Join our sponsors, Touro and The Parenting Center at Children’s Hospital, for Grandparenting 101 on Wednesday, September 3 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
First time grandparents, a lot has changed in newborn care over the last few decades! From tummy time to safe sleeping (back only), and swaddling to car seat safety, we are here to teach you the basics.
Learn how to best support your children as new parents and feel refreshed in newborn care skills that you will quickly put to use as doting grandparents.
Click here to learn more or to register for free today.
Cheryl A. Tschirn
Cheryl A. Tschirn, RN, BSN is the Community Educator for the Family Birthing Center at Touro Infirmary. Since the age of five, Cheryl knew she wanted a career in nursing. She graduated with a BSN from LSU’s School of Nursing in 1981. Cheryl began working in cardiology and pre and post surgical care. She found her calling in 1985 when she began working in Ambulatory OB/GYN nursing. For 28 years, Cheryl has worked in the field as a staff nurse, manager and director. She has served in her current role as Community Educators since 2013 and states that her job is “an absolute joy”. Cheryl enjoys working closely with families and helping preparing them to welcome a growing family.