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I am a senior nursing student at the University of MN. The question posted pertained to the attachment process between mom and child and how the nurse can participate. First I think it is important for the nurse to assess the attachment behaviors of mom and baby in order to effectively help them to reach their goals. Some Guidelines to follow when assessing these behaviors are:
* "when the infant is first brought to the parents, do they reach out for the child and call the child by name?"
* "Do the parents speak about the child in terms of identification, whom th infant looks like; what appears special abour their child over other infants?"
* "When parents are holding the infant, what kind of body contact is there, do they feel at ease in changing the infants position; are fingertips or whole hands used."
* "When the infant is awake, what kinds of stimulation do the parents provide, do they talk to the infant, to each other or no one?"
* "How comfortable do the parents appear in terms of caring for the infant?"
* "What type of affection do they demonstrate to the newborn, such as smiling, stroking, kissing, or rocking?" (Whaley and Wong, 1999)
After doing an assessment the nurse will have an idea of where the family needs assistance in the attachment process. The nurse can encourage specific behaviors that will facilitate successful attachment and bonding of mom and baby. The nurse can make comments like "Oh it looks like baby has moms eyes" this will give the mother a feeling of identification like this child truly is part of her. It is also important that mom knows that a lot of skin to skin contact will enhance the attachment phase and a great opportunity for this exists during feeding. The nurse should tell the family that the bonding process begins even before birth and the baby will recognize their voices (Whaley and Wong, 1999). This will help the mom and the rest of the family to feel more like an attachment with the baby already exists and that the baby will respond to them positively, hopefully alleviating some of their fears.
With older children involved it is also important for Mom and Dad to pay special attention to their needs as well, making sure to take time to do things just with the older child. If the older child helps with the care of the new baby it is impotant to praise them for their works, this will give them a feeling of importance and will also be facilitating a successful bond with not only their parents but, also with the new sibling.
I think the most important thing for the nurse to do to help with the attachment process is teaching, telling mom what actions enhance bonding and encouraging these behaviors.
Wong, D. (1999). Nursing Care of Infants and Children. (6th ed.), St. Louis: Mosby.