Dr. Melnyk provides three tips for new mothers caring for premature babies.
There are three tips that I’d like to give to parents of premature babies. Again, one, make sure if you are starting to feel depressed, that you get some help for that. If the parent is feeling depressed that translates over to the child and children have a lot of adverse outcomes when they are parented by parents who are depressed or overly anxious. So again, take good care of your emotional self first.
Secondly, it’s really important to realize that chances are you are going to have a child, even though they were born prematurely, who will be a little behind developmentally until they are about two years of age, but then they are going to catch up and they are going to do really well.
So what you don’t want to do is start seeing that child as, they are so vulnerable, they are so fragile, I have to treat them like an egg that’s ready to break. And treating your child fragilely, overprotecting your child really can have some long term negative outcomes, emotional and behavioral problems in that particular child.
Thirdly, talk to your pediatric healthcare provider about whatever your concerns are. Your pediatrician or your pediatric nurse practitioner is there to listen to your concerns, to respond to them and to help you parent your child in a way that will lead to the best outcomes.
About Dr. Melnyk, Ph.D., R.N.:
Dr. Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, Ph.D., R.N., is Dean and Distinguished Foundation Professor in Nursing at the Arizona State University College of Nursing & Health Innovation. She is noted for her dedication to improving the health of children and teens, educational and research innovation, interdisciplinary healthcare, and evidence-based practice to deliver quality patient outcomes.
Dr. Melnyk earned a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree from the West Virginia University School of Nursing, a Master’s of Science in nursing with a specialization in nursing care of children as a pediatric nurse practitioner from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in clinical nursing research from the University of Rochester (New York). She also has completed her post-master’s certificate as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.