A Look Inside Nurses for Newborns

Nurses for Newborns is a natural fit when it comes to collaborating with the Better Birth Outcomes study. This separate, non-profit nurse visitation program for at-risk mothers and babies is important in preventing infant mortality.

“The first 18 months is most critical for a child,” said Vicki Beaver, M.S.N., R.N., executive director of Nurse for Newborns of Tennessee. “We are certainly helping the next generation of children, but we are also helping women learn how to get through the struggles that come with raising an infant.”

Nurses for Newborns provides postpartum home visits to Better Birth Outcomes participants and care to thousands more throughout seven counties in Middle Tennessee. More than half of those visits were to babies who began life in a neonatal intensive care unit and are medically fragile. It also serves families for whom poverty is the primary risk factor, families headed by a caregiver with medical or mental challenges, and teen mothers.

Beaver, a 1973 B.S.N. graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, said she understands why mothers appreciate the extra assurance Nurses for Newborns provides.

“We live in a world where many of us don’t live near our mothers, and Nurses for Newborns becomes that safety net,” she said.

Because many infant deaths are sleep-related, Nurses for Newborns strongly emphasizes the “back to sleep” movement, which calls for infants to sleep on their back. But they often run into generational differences.

“Many young mothers who hear us tell them to put their babies to sleep on their back have their mothers telling them to use the stomach position. We have to teach across generations and keep reinforcing the message.”

Home visits are valuable because nurses can see what a baby’s environment is like and eliminate transportation and child care issues for their clients.

Nurses for Newborns can begin to see mothers during their pregnancy and may follow the child until their second birthday. The nurses provide assessments, education and often supplies such as diapers or clothing. For more information, visit www.nfnf.org