Dr Elizabeth Forster

Dr Elizabeth Forster

I am a senior academic, paediatric nurse, author of two Australian paediatric nursing textbooks and researcher. I am currently Program Director of Paediatric Nursing at Griffith University.

Location Australia


  • Dr Elizabeth Forster replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    Hi Robin, here in Brisbane Australia there is a great program on peer support for young women who are mothers called Young women for young mothers. This program enables other young mothers and women to provide support to new young mothers and the program runs mother and baby sessions where young mothers can learn how to play, interact with and care for their...

  • Dr Elizabeth Forster replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    Hi Robin, yes receiving affection and care is critical to development and survival

  • Thank you for sharing that experience Abby. I hope the baby ended up being cared for in a supportive and nurturing environment. It highlights the need to educate parents about the importance of bonding and nurturing care too doesn't it.

  • Early intervention has the best outcomes for talipes equinovarus.

  • thanks Lyndsey, you are quite correct that sometimes congenital cardiac conditions that are mild are diagnosed later in life. The 6 week infant check is also important as this is when some cardiac abnormalities may be picked up- like septal defects. So it is very important for parents to continue to bring their babies along for well baby checks.

  • Thanks everyone for sharing your observations from the newborn respiration videos, your assessment skills are becoming more refined and you are noticing the many elements of newborn respiratory assessment- well done!

  • Thanks Therazita, you have identified some important elements of bathing here. The buoyancy one is also a great techinque that is very relaxing for newborns.

  • Thanks Terry for sharing, yes with a firstborn it often feels like a military operation among new parents. I had to smile when I read your comments- they are certainly some lovely memories for parents.

  • thanks Sally and I have given you a link to the AWHONN infant skin care guidelines as well

  • Hi Lyndsey, yes definitely, checking the temperature of the water before placing the baby in it is a crucial safety measure and should always be performed.

  • Thanks Sally, evidence is certainly continuing to emerge regarding neonatal and infant skin care and hygiene. The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses have an Evidence based clinical practice guideline on Neonatal Skin Care that you may like to find and read. There is currently a 4th edition but you can see some updates from the 3rd...

  • Thank you everyone, we are so glad that you have enjoyed week 1 and hope you have gained a lot from the MOOC so far.

  • It is uncomfortable rather than painful. Babies usually don't enjoy this part of the examination and often being unwrapped and exposed is distressing. Once they are swaddled again and returned to their mother they are usually fine.

  • @LyndseyRogers Developmental dysplasia of the hip

  • @AlchemyC Practise Alchemy is the only way to develop your expertise. It does get easier

  • Witch's milk is known as galactorrhea and is the neonatal milk secretion form the breasts of newborns and it is due to the hormonal influences of the mother's hormones prior to birth but which can continue to effect the neonate for a few weeks.

  • As the lingual frenulum may loosen over time any intervention for ankyloglossia may be delayed to see what happens and other strategies such as consultation with a lactation consultant may be employed to assist with feeding. If the baby was failing to thrive then intervention may be needed.
    For cleft lip surgery is often performed at around 3-6 months of age...

  • Dr Elizabeth Forster replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    This is a good question Robin and depends on the setting you are conducting the assessment. Normally you could discuss with parents what you are doing when you are performing the assessment and you can let them know that the Paediatrician will be assessing as well. It is important not to worry parents unnecessarily so the way you approach information...

  • @HesterAllinson Hi Hester, yes you would notify the paediatrician if you noted facial palsy. The majority of congenital facial palsies and those associated with birth trauma will resolve within a few months. Eye care needs to be considered when the newborn cannot close their eye and there may even be issues with feeding that need to be assessed. If there...

  • Hi Ayla, yes an otoscope will certainly be used to inspect the ear canal and is an important part of ongoing assessment during infancy and childhood. In infancy and early childhood it is used to inspect the eardrum to make sure there is no evidence of otitis media or effusion.

  • Thank you everyone for your comments, it is clear that you have found the videos on assessment of the newborn helpful. Vicki and I are so pleased that you have found them informative and a useful way to learn about newborn assessment

  • Hi Um Abbas, yes ultrasound has enabled a great deal of diagnostic ability prior to birth which is helpful in preparing for and planning the management of any abnormalities detected. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • Thanks Barend, I am glad you will incorporate this information into your future newborn assessments

  • It is great to hear that so many of you are finding the information of assessment of the newborn so helpful.

  • thanks Shayla I'm glad that you're finding the MOOC informative

  • Thanks Lauren, yes those are some good examples of behaviours that promote bonding. You are correct, for some women, breastfeeding will not be possible and it is important for health professionals to support these mothers to be able to feed their babies safely.

  • Thanks Deborah, you probably model these behaviours yourself to new mothers when you interact with the baby.

  • thanks Hester, you have identified many of the central strategies to promote bonding in the early period following birth.

  • That's right Helen. Sometimes separation at birth is necessary for emergency reasons and then if the newborn spends time in the special care or neonatal intensive care unit, the staff will try to promote skin to skin contact if possible and other ways to assist parents to bond with their newborn. You have touched upon an important point here in that we need...

  • @HesterAllinson Thank you for sharing your experiences of early bonding with your baby. Yes, many new mothers feel exhausted after birth and may even feel a bit overwhelmed when they first meet their new baby. I think you have touched on an important point, that is, that the relationship and bond develops over time and in those day to day interactions and...

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences Kathy, I am sure that your consistent care and nurturing of these babies is contributing to their sense of security and trust in their environment.

  • thanks Deborah, yes, given that it is thought that the foetus can hear in the womb once the organs of hearing are fully developed, many expectant mothers engage in these activities to promote bonding even before the baby is born.

  • Thanks Therazita, you have shared a number of ways that you can promote bonding and development.

  • @HesterAllinson That sounds beautiful Hester, I am sure that the sound of your voice and musical tone was very soothing to your baby.

  • @LaurenKaufman thanks Lauren this is correct. The meeting of basic needs and affection are integral for the newborn to develop trust in his/her environment and caregivers.

  • Thanks for sharing your experiences in midwifery Deborah. I am sure those little newborns are very comforted by your gentle voice and communication.

  • Thank you for sharing Lauren, what strategies did you use to try to help these children feel more safe and secure?

  • Lauren that is correct, it is very important to work in partnership with parents and to help them to feel more confident in enjoying interactons with their new baby.

  • thank you Lauren for sharing your experiences with your peers. Yes there are certainly many challenges for these children and their families and it is heartening that there are many health and educational professionals who are working so hard to help these children achieve their potential.

  • Hi Melani, you can find some information about feeding for babies with cleft palates at the following website: https://www.cleftpalsqld.org.au/information-sheets/
    If you have access to a nursing or midwifery database you could have a look at this article which has a flow chart of the areas assessed for feeding which may help you:
    Kaye, A. et al. (2017)....

  • thanks for sharing Lauren, it's great that you can draw upon your own experiences here and recall the signs of respiratory distress in the newborn. I hope your son is well now.

  • that's right and you should also take note of central and peripheral colour and asynchronous chest wall/abdominal breathing and also head bobbing due to contraction of the sternocleidomastoid muscles in the neck

  • @LaurenKaufman Ph neutral products are best and try to avoid highly fragranced products as well.
    Yes I think a lot of mothers feel a bit nervous about the cord stump and would relate to your sense of relief when it finally fell off. Thanks for sharing.