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MCN, American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing:
Feature Articles

The Interactive Newborn Bath: Using Infant Neurobehavior to Connect Parents and Newborns

Karl, Donna J. MS, PNP, RN, CS

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Abstract

The interactive newborn bath is an innovative approach to the traditional baby bath. This article uses a Brazelton infant behavior perspective to describe a rationale and methodology for this family-centered nursing intervention. It offers the nurse detailed suggestions for observing and identifying infant states, interpreting infant behavior, calming and orienting newborns, and eliciting selected reflexes. In this approach, the nurse assumes an expanded role as a facilitator of infant-parent interaction. The baby's behavior and the bath experience are used to engage parents with their newborns. The nurse encourages parents to observe, touch, and respond to their infants in order to develop more responsive parenting skills and better enjoy their babies. The interactive approach can enrich nursing practice by transforming the standard newborn bath into an exploratory adventure in which the nurse joins with parents to better understand and respond to the newest member of their family.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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