The patronage nurses, who are the first guests in families of newborns, give the parturient women advice on how to care for a newborn and on exclusive breastfeeding, and, also, simply every question for the newborns can be asked. Doors are wide open for these nurses whose help is welcome to parturient women. The patronage nurses from the Polyvalent Patronage Service in the Healthcare Home Kumanovo visit daily from 60 to 80 women, mothers, pregnant women, and women who plan to expand the family. Based on data from this service, one patronage nurse visits daily per six women in the region of the municipalities of Kumanovo, Lipkovo and Staro Nagorichane, and usually two to three are parturient women.
Ljiljana Ivanovska, a head nurse said “The visits are mostly arranged in a pleasant atmosphere to educate a mother. The first advice we give to mothers is on proper nutrition of a newborn, actually, on exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months without any supplements, and when to give water, tea and milk which is adapted or modified.” Patronage nurses educate mothers how to maintain lactation, to care for breasts and to express breast milk with the aim of preventing mastitis or other complications. It is important for the advice given to be followed in order to avoid the possibility for a newborn to refuse breastfeeding early.
She explained that parturient women are interested in several topics related to breastfeeding and care of a newborn. Also, she said that she has had a work experience of long years and, until the present, she has not had any problems with mothers from the Roma community. On the contrary, she has always been accepted in the families. According to her, advice is given to all, but it is on a mother to follow it or not.
The patronage service visited about 30 mothers with newborns from the Roma community since the beginning of this year, and 87 newborns were visited in 2016.
The patronage nurses educate mothers how to care for a newborn, and how to be treated the navel of a newborn with a 70% alcohol.
In some families in the Roma community, although most of the parturient women listen to the advice of patronage nurses, some treat the navel with coffee powder instead of alcohol as a result of influence from tradition and adult family members. The patronage nurses give mothers advice on how to care for the baby’s skin, mouth, eyes, ears, to give a newborn a bath, to change nappies, on temperature of water and the surrounding where a baby lives. Ivanovska said that all mothers try to follow the advice, even those who come from families under social risk. According to Ivanovska, expensive products are not necessary to care for a baby’s skin, and it is sufficient to use baby soap, warm water and cream Pavlovic or Jekoderm. Even the poorest buy these products.
Ivanovska said “The economic factor influences a child’s development, but it is not a key factor to raise a healthy newborn and to bring up a healthy child. We said what it is necessary to give them a bath. Baby’s skin is very sensitive and exposed to irritations and allergies. That is why only baby soap and warm water are necessary, nothing more.”
Still, at the suggestion of mothers-in-law and mothers, some parturient women use egg yolk when bathing a baby so the skin is smooth. Lately, the practice disappears because most of the parturient women are educated and they communicate among themselves about caring for babies.
Ivanovska said “The first visits are the most effective, in particular, in cases of a first child. Mothers want to be supported, to communicate with professionals and to receive advice which is valuable for their child and of benefit for baby’s health.”
Every first newborn is given some allowance. In the past, it was provided a package of clothes, products for hygiene and care of a newborn. Humane citizens and non-governmental organizations support families with newborns under social risk. Patronage nurses witnessed how a room for a newborn is equipped in a very short time using resources from good-hearted citizens and aimed at families with small children and newborns. Products for nutrition and care for newborns are often donated.
Ivanovska said “The support from non-governmental organizations is good. Every support to families with newborn is welcome, and all in interest of proper development of a baby.”
Mothers who give birth to second, third child, also receive the same advice, because, according to Ivanovska, in spite of being experienced they should follow the advice of patronage nurses since every child is an individual itself with own characteristics.
According to data of this service, the youngest mother visited by a patronage nurse was 13 years old and of Roma ethnicity, whereas the oldest who gave birth for the first time was 43 years old and Macedonian who had difficulties to get pregnant.