New York, NY (Dec. 15, 2014) – A recent study in Biological Psychiatry [i]supports what pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) have continually emphasized to new parents—the benefits of skin-to-skin contact and lasting positive effects on both infants and parents. The newly launched “Care of Infant Skin” course introduces the calming effects and benefits of infant massage and reviews the functions of skin layers and proper methods for newborn and infant bathing. The course was developed for PNPs and other pediatric health providers by the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP).
“Infant skincare and massage are part of a holistic approach to caring for your newborn and infant,” said Mary Chesney PhD, RN, CPNP, NAPNAP president. “Emerging research findings link human touch and skin-to-skin contact to production of important brain chemicals that foster infant growth and calming. We believe this training will help pediatric providers positively address one of the most common challenges for new parents – calming an infant in distress.
According to Chesney, infant touch and massage play an important role in a child’s development. Infant skin is more sensitive than adult skin. Some products may irritate newborn skin or cause dermatitis. Additionally, it is important to teach providers and parents the benefits of infant massage and recommended the technique as part of overall infant care. Benefits of infant touch and massage may include greater bonding and attachment, increased communication between infant and parent, and other health benefits like improved circulation, coordination and balance. Massage also promotes relaxation and may improve sleep, flexibility, immunity, growth and behavior, according to the International Association of Infant Massage.
PNPs and other healthcare providers will learn strategies to implement nurturing touch in their practice including how to:
NAPNAP is pioneering a multi-tiered approach for the infant skincare, touch and massage course. The in-person interactive chapter lecture series, entitled “Infant Touch & Massage” launched November 2014, with new professional education workshops being scheduled in early 2015. The course includes an online continuing education module available through 2016, and NAPNAP will produce corresponding education flipcharts and handouts for parents to take home. Development of this program was supported through an educational grant from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.
“NAPNAP members reach millions of patients across the country each year and spend on average 11-20 minutes per visit with children and families,” said Chesney. “Advanced practice pediatric nurses are skilled educators and experts at listening to families, providing supportive patient education, as well as designing and sharing useful resources. Our unique approach allows us to go above and beyond to truly help families understand their treatment.”
Pediatric nurse practitioner care encompasses all areas of pediatrics, from managing acute, chronic and critical pediatric illnesses, performing exams and in‐depth physicals, conducting screenings and healthcare diagnoses, management and treatment.
Infant skin courses are part of a diverse offering of pediatric coursework provided by NAPNAP. The program is offered at no cost, and continuing education credit will be granted to qualified participating pediatric providers.
The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s professional association of pediatric nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 7,800 healthcare practitioners nationwide with 17 special interest groups and 48 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973. www.NAPNAP.org
[i] Ruth Feldman, Zehava Rosenthal, Arthur I. Eidelman. Maternal-Preterm Skin-to-Skin Contact Enhances Child Physiologic Organization and Cognitive Control Across the First 10 Years of Life. Biological Psychiatry, 2014; 75 (1): 56 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.08.012