Infant Nursing Diagnosis and Nursing Care Plan

Last updated on December 31st, 2022 at 11:46 am

Infant Growth and Development Nursing Care Plans Diagnosis and Interventions

Infants: Development and Nursing Care

Every baby goes through astonishing changes in just 12 months. From helpless newborns to energetic toddlers, babies grow and evolve at an incredible rate, with new and fascinating changes occurring every month.

New parents frequently worry about what to expect next and how to tell if their baby is developing normally. Instead of focusing too much on developmental milestones, they should keep in mind that all babies develop at their speed.

When it is normal for a newborn to reach a certain developmental stage, there is a rather broad window.

Stages of Infant Development

One to Three Months

Infants are learning to live in the outer world throughout this first period of development.

  • Smile. It will be all to themselves at first. Within three months, they’ll start smiling back and attempting to persuade someone to grin back at them
  • They should raise their head and chest when lying on their stomach
  • They use their eyes to track objects and gradually reduce eye crossing
  • They open and close their hands and bring their hands to their mouth
  • They grasp stuff in their hands
  • Swipe at or grab dangling objects, even if they won’t typically be able to get them

Four to Six Months

Babies are learning to reach out and manipulate the world around them throughout these months. They’re learning how to use those incredible tools, their hands. They’re also finding their voices.

  • Roll over from front to rear or back to front. Front-to-back is normally first
  • Babble, creating sounds that can be mistaken for real speaking
  • Laugh
  • Reach for and grab objects, and use their hands to control toys and other objects
  • Sit up straight with good head control.

Seven to Nine Months

During the second half of their first year, the baby will become a mobile infant. They’ll spend the following three months finding out how to move forward or backward after discovering they can get someplace by rolling over. It is important to baby-proof the home at this stage.

  • Begin crawling. Scooting or propelling around on their bottom or “army crawling” (dragging themselves on their tummy by arms and legs), as well as normal crawling on hands and knees, are examples of this. Some babies never crawl, instead transitioning from scooting to walking
  • Sit without any support
  • Respond to words that are known to them, such as their name. They may also respond to “No” by temporarily halting and looking at the person, after which they may begin mumbling “Mama” and “Dada”
  • Clap their hands and play games like patty-cake and peekaboo
  • Learn how to bring themselves up to a standing posture

Ten to Twelve Months

The final developmental stage of a baby’s first year represents a significant transformation. They may appear and act more like a toddler. At this stage, infants are learning how to do the following:

  • Start feeding themselves. Infants at this stage of development have mastered the pincer grasp, which allows them to hold little things like O-shaped cereal between their thumb and forefinger.
  • Walk and cruise. They cruise around the room on their feet, clutching onto the furniture.
  • Talk. “Mama” and “Dada” become distinct names for parents while learning one or two words. The average number of spoken words by the first birthday is three; however, this can vary in many children.
  • Point. To grab attention, infants will point toward an object that they want.
  • Pretend-play. Begin to pretend to play by imitation or appropriately using things, such as pretending to talk on the phone.

Common Infant Illnesses

  • Common cold. The common cold is one of the most prevalent childhood illnesses, which is unsurprising. Colds are caused by viruses that spread easily in circumstances where individuals come into close contact. It can be treated with over-the-counter medications.
  • Infections of the Ear. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), infants are more susceptible to ear infections than adults. Ear infections are caused by bacteria or viruses. Earache, fever, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and ear pulling are all symptoms
  • Influenza. Flu is a type of virus that spreads easily when infected people cough or sneeze. This frequent childhood illness causes fever, sore throat, body aches, and chills. The majority of cases are treatable at home by treating symptoms.
  • Bronchitis. Happens when the airways in the lungs expand and generate mucus. This causes coughing, chest pain, headaches, body aches, and a sore throat. The majority of instances of bronchitis are caused by a virus that frequently develops after an upper respiratory illness.
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease. It is most frequent among newborns and children under the age of five. Skin rash, fever, oral sores, and flu-like symptoms are among the symptoms.
  • Conjunctivitis. Also known as pink eye, causes redness, discharge, itching, and swelling in one or both eyes. There are several causes, but the contagious kind is caused by a bacteria or virus that enters the eye. Pink eye can be treated using an antibiotic ointment or eye drops.
  • Gastroenteritis. Known as stomach flu although it is not the flu. It is caused by a virus that spreads rapidly. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are among the symptoms. Typically, the symptoms subside after a few days, and therapy involves rest and fluid administration.
  • Sinusitis. A buildup of fluid in the sinuses permits bacteria and viruses to thrive. Runny nose, stuffy nose, headache, pressure or pain in the face, post-nasal drip, sore throat, and cough are all symptoms.

Health Promotion

The following measures towards health promotion can be used by the nurse during health teaching sessions with the parent/s:

  • Child safety
    • Passenger safety. Ascertain that the baby’s car seat is properly installed. Read and follow the instructions that came with the car safety seat about using car safety seats appropriately. When the infant is in the car, always use the car safety seat.
    • Burns. Infants between the ages of 3 and 5 months will wave their fists and grab items. Never carry the child with hot drinks or food. When taking a bath, the water temperature should be no higher than 120°F to protect the child from burns.
    • Suffocation and Choking. Babies investigate their surroundings by placing everything in their mouths. never leave little objects within the baby’s reach. Never give baby hard foods like raw carrots, apples, hot dogs, grapes, peanuts, or popcorn. To avoid choking, cut all foods into thin pieces.
    • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The baby should always sleep on his or her back to avoid suffocation and lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. The baby should sleep in his or her crib or cot, free of pillows, stuffed animals, bumpers, or loose material. Never place the baby on a water bed, bean bag, or anything soft enough to cover the face and prevent air from reaching the nose and mouth.
  • Child health
    • Breastfeeding. Breast milk satisfies the baby’s whole nutritional needs during the first 6 months of life. The baby will learn about new tastes and textures with appropriate solid food between the ages of 6 and 12 months, but breast milk should still be an important source of nutrients.
    • Activity level. Maintain the baby’s activity level. The infant may not be able to run and play like the big kids yet, but there are plenty of things that can be done to keep the small arms and legs moving throughout the day. Moving about on the floor helps the baby grow in strength, learn, and explore. Avoid putting the infant in swings, strollers, bouncer seats, or exercise saucers for extended periods. Limit the screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies under the age of 18 months avoid using any screen media other than video conferencing.
    • Vaccination. Vaccines are essential for a child’s health and safety. Because children might contract deadly infections, the child must receive the appropriate vaccinations at the appropriate time. Consult with the child’s doctor to ensure that vaccines are up to date.
  • Positive Parenting
    • Talk to the baby. The parent’s speech will be soothing to the baby.
    • When the baby produces sounds, respond by repeating the sounds and adding words. This will assist them in learning to use words.
    • Read to the baby. This will support the development and comprehension of language and sounds.
    • Sing to the baby and play music. This will assist the baby in developing a love of music as well as brain growth.
    • Praise the baby and give lots of loving affection.
    • Spend time with the baby by caressing. This will make the baby feel loved and secure.
    • Play with the baby when the baby is alert and relaxed. Observe the baby for signs of tiredness or fussiness and take a break from playing.
    • When the baby starts moving and touching things they shouldn’t, distract the baby with toys and move to a safe environment.
    • Take good care of yourself both physically and mentally. Parenting can be demanding. When feeling good, it’s simpler to enjoy the baby and be a positive, loving parent.

Nursing Diagnosis for Infant Development and Nursing Care

Infant Nursing Care Plan 1

Risk for Impaired Parenting

Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Impaired Parenting related to being first-time parents of an infant secondary to infant development.

Desired Outcomes:

  • The parent will exhibit acceptable parenting behaviors.
  • The parent will offer a secure environment for the child.
  • The parent will establish a positive relationship with their child as well as realistic expectations for both themselves and their children.
Infant Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess the parents’ achievement of self and other developmental tasks including the comprehension of the child’s growth and development; how they are linked to the child; how they understand and respond to the child; how they accept and support the child; and how they meet the social, psychological, and physical needs of the child.Provides information on the parent-child interaction and parenting styles that may result in impaired parenting.
Allow parents to communicate their sentiments, personal needs, and aspirations without passing judgment or comparing them to other parents.Assists parents in satisfying their own needs.  
Praise parents for their involvement in their child’s care and assure them that they are providing good care.Positive parenting habits are reinforced, and a sense of sufficiency is increased.  
Establish a child-rearing role model for parents to follow.Encourages the development of parental abilities through imitation.
Include parents in care planning and goal setting.Encourages parental involvement in meeting the needs of their children.
Discuss with parents how to decrease conflict, how to be consistent in their approach to the child’s behavior and demands, and how to avoid side with the child or other parents.Increases in the likelihood of positive child-parent interaction.  
Educate the parents on developmental tasks for the child and parents, developmental level differences between the child and parents, and appropriate tasks for age levels.Provides information to help parents respond realistically and correctly to their children’s demands at various ages.  

Infant Nursing Care Plan 2

Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume

Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume related to low breast milk output secondary to infant development.

Desired Outcomes:

  • The patient will be able to feed properly and avoid fluid volume deficit.
  • The parent will demonstrate lifestyle changes to avoid the progression of a low breast milk supply.
Infant Nursing InterventionsRationale
Complete a comprehensive head-to-toe assessment of the patient.    This allows the nurse to analyze the entire individual and combine all data while making clinical judgments, assisting in determining the reason for dehydration.
Monitor the patient’s input and output and assess the patient’s vital signs.  This will provide the nurse with objective data for calculating the patient’s net fluid loss. If the patient is dehydrated, the vital signs may be abnormal.
Assist the mother with breastfeeding and arrange for lactation consultation if required.    Ensuring that the infant latches on properly and is fed effectively by the mother; if problems arise, a lactation consultant can be consulted to aid in ensuring that the baby receives sufficient nourishment.
Educate the parents on the various causes and signs of dehydration.    Education can assist the family to comprehend the diagnosis and apply preventative measures they can take to avoid dehydration in the future.
Educate the parents on the need of maintaining optimal hydration and nutrition status regularly.  After discharge, education will assist the parents to become more self-sufficient and understand what they can do to avoid future episodes of dehydration in the patient.
Educate the mother about feeding the baby frequently. Every 2 hours during the day and every 3 to 4 hours at night, (at least 8 to 16 times in 24 hours). If the baby refuses to nurse, advise using a high-quality double-electric breast pump.Feeding the baby frequently will stimulate milk production. The pump will help to boost the milk supply, after breastfeeding, pumping stimulates the body to create more milk.
Instruct the mother to feed the baby for at least 15 minutes at each breast. Avoid restrictions on nursing time and if the baby falls asleep after the first breast, wake him or her up and offer the second.To improve the fat content of the feeding, a few babies may benefit from nursing at one breast per feeding. It has been found that switching breasts numerous times during a meal increases milk supply.  

Infant Nursing Care Plan 3

Risk of Failure to Thrive

Nursing Diagnosis:  Risk of Failure to Thrive related to poor feeding habits secondary to infant development.

Desired Outcomes:

  • The patient will achieve the appropriate weight for his age.
  • The parents will be aware of the steps to maintain the baby’s feeding pattern.
Infant Nursing InterventionsRationale
Conduct a physical assessment of the patient and take a detailed history of any feeding or sleeping issues from the parents.Examine the baby carefully, noting skin turgor, anterior fontanel, symptoms of emaciation, weight, temperature, apical pulse, respirations, responsiveness, listlessness, and irritability.
Using a meal chart, a growth chart, and a daily weight chart, observe and evaluate the patient’s condition.      Because the baby is underweight, regular weight checks must be one of the therapies. Signs and symptoms of ongoing nutritional imbalance must also be identified and addressed. It is important to remember that once an organic reason has been identified, suitable and fast therapy must be provided. The intervention relies heavily on the involvement of parents and caregivers.
Provide sensory stimulation, and maintain proper nutrition and fluid intake. Refer the baby to a dietician and visiting/community nurses.Enlisting dieticians or visiting nurses may also help to prevent the child’s FTT from worsening.
Instruct the mother to feed the baby slowly and carefully in a peaceful setting; during feeding, the baby may be snugly hugged and softly rocked; initially, feeding the baby every 2 to 3 hours may be essential.Maintains a healthy diet and fluid consumption. Promotes baby and mother bonding.
Educate the parent or caregiver on vitamin deficiencies and how to treat them. Determine which improper feeding habits should be eradicated.  Individualization to the baby and family’s specific needs is the strategy for managing the baby with psychosocial problems. To address the family’s psychosocial needs, providing specific feeding guidelines and correcting misinformation can be beneficial.

Infant Nursing Care Plan 4

Risk for Constipation

Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Constipation related to abdominal muscle weakness secondary to infant development.

Desired Outcomes:

  • The parents will identify measures that will prevent or treat the constipation of their baby.
  • The patient will maintain the passage of stool at a normal frequency.
Infant Nursing InterventionsRationale
Obtain the patient’s medical and gastrointestinal history through the parents.      Determine whether constipation is a side effect of another treatment or a functioning condition. Many supplements, including iron, and drugs, can cause constipation. Learn about typical bowel movements, as well as variations in food or routine.
Assess the patient’s abdomen. Look for signs of distention, auscultate the bowel sounds, and examine for any palpable masses or sensitivity.A palpable bulk on the baby’s left side may indicate constipation. Stool backup might result in trapped gas and abdominal distention.
Assess the patient’s vital signs.    Establish a baseline. Severe constipation can result in perforation and peritonitis, and vital signs may indicate infection.
Administer stool softeners or laxatives, as well as suppositories or enemas as needed.   .  A regular stool softener may be introduced to the patient’s daily routine to help soften and pass impacted stool and encourage normal bowel movements. To help relieve badly impacted feces, suppositories or enemas may be administered
Encourage the parents to perform a warm tub bath for the baby.The warm water relaxes the rectum muscles and soothes the perianal area.
Educate the patient on diet modifications for the baby. Advise the parents to increase the patient’s fiber intake, and try to include pureed peas or prunes if the baby is consuming solid foods.Peas or prunes contain more fiber than other fruits and vegetables. Whole wheat, barley, or multigrain cereals have more fiber than rice cereal. Dietary changes help the colon process stool and make it easier to pass.

Infant Nursing Care Plan 5

Risk for Infection

Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Infection related to immature immune defenses secondary to infant development.

Desired Outcomes:

  • The patient will be free from any signs of infection.
Infant Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess the area surrounding the baby’s umbilical cord.    Inspect the cord to ensure it is properly secured, as a bleed could occur if it loosens before thrombosis obliterates the umbilical vessels. Make sure the region around the cord is dry and erythema-free.
Assess the patient’s vital signs.  Following the initial stage of sepsis, there may be continued gradual declines in cardiac output with bradycardia and systemic hypotension. The baby exhibits overt shock, as evidenced by pallor, poor capillary perfusion, and edema.
Wear proper PPE and practice good hand hygiene at all times.    Before touching the baby, healthcare professionals should thoroughly wash their hands and arms up to their elbows with antiseptic soap. Although no evidence that wearing cover gowns or nursery uniforms reduces infections, agency staff are frequently compelled to wear them when directly caring for the patient.
Ensure that all healthcare staff who care for the patient, visitors, and even the mother are infection-free.  Employees with illnesses should be barred from caring for moms and their babies until the infection has completely cleared. If the mother has an infectious illness, her baby should be kept away from her until there is no longer a risk of contamination.
Keep the baby’s room and environment clean and comfortable.    Toys, highchairs, and work tables should be cleaned regularly because bacteria can remain on surfaces for up to 48 hours. Make certain that any antibacterial cleaners used are safe to use around children and keep them out of their reach.
Advise the parents to avoid smoking or exposing the baby to smokers.Premature newborns and infants with delicate lungs are more vulnerable to the effects of cigarette smoke, as do babies and children. Tobacco smoke has been reported to aggravate the symptoms of numerous illnesses in babies.

Nursing References

Ackley, B. J., Ladwig, G. B., Makic, M. B., Martinez-Kratz, M. R., & Zanotti, M. (2020). Nursing diagnoses handbook: An evidence-based guide to planning care. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.  Buy on Amazon

Gulanick, M., & Myers, J. L. (2022). Nursing care plans: Diagnoses, interventions, & outcomes. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier. Buy on Amazon

Ignatavicius, D. D., Workman, M. L., Rebar, C. R., & Heimgartner, N. M. (2020). Medical-surgical nursing: Concepts for interprofessional collaborative care. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.  Buy on Amazon

Silvestri, L. A. (2020). Saunders comprehensive review for the NCLEX-RN examination. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.  Buy on Amazon


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The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

This information is intended to be nursing education and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

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Anna Curran. RN, BSN, PHN

Anna Curran. RN-BC, BSN, PHN, CMSRN I am a Critical Care ER nurse. I have been in this field for over 30 years. I also began teaching BSN and LVN students and found that by writing additional study guides helped their knowledge base, especially when it was time to take the NCLEX examinations.

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