In a scene in the PBS series “Call the Midwife” , Nurse Jenny Lee (the main character) risks getting into trouble to sneak a newborn baby into an open ward so that a desperate mom can hold her child for the first time. It seems shocking today, but not so long ago, babies were kept in the nursery under observation while mom recovered in an open ward with other moms. Family and visitors would clamor for prime viewing spots outside the nursery window to see baby who lay swaddled and isolated beyond reach and comforting touch.
In recent years, as hospitals moved from open wards to private rooms, the practice of ‘rooming in’ has become common place, allowing moms and babies to stay together. Still, the practice of taking baby to the nursery to ‘give mom a break’ or a good night’s sleep continues. And indeed it would seem to make some sense, but research studies have shown that sleep patterns and breastfeeding are often better established when baby stays with mom and mom with support learns her child’s cues. For this reason we promote 24 hour rooming-in for new moms.
Mom to near 2 year old Felix, Cindy shares her experience rooming-in at TMC for Women,
I was going to the El Rio Birth Center and wanted to have a natural birth experience, but that wasn’t in the cards for me. At 41 weeks, it was time to go to the hospital. I was at TMC for two days before Felix was born via C-section. He was 10.5 lbs and a bit of a celebrity for the short time I was there. There hadn’t been such a big baby born in quite awhile. After the C-section, our midwife gave Felix to me right away…
Placed on Cindy’s chest immediately, Felix stayed with mom except for testing and a short time when Cindy cleaned up following the C-section.
The nurses at TMC were very kind and supportive and respectful of my need to have Felix with me at all times. I was there after the surgery for 3 days…It was amazing to have that little guy close to me, I wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything in the world.
What is the Newborn Nursery for?
Our Newborn Nursery is reserved for only those babies who need intensive observation or are having problems that prevent them from staying in their mother’s room.
Moms are encouraged to always keep their baby with them, and at the hospital their partner or a support person is welcome to stay overnight to help them with the baby, as they bond and get to know one another.
Why rooming-in is important
• Rooming-in promotes successful breastfeeding
• Keeping your baby with you at all times helps both of you sleep better
• The safest place for the baby is with the parent
• Being together strengthens your bond – the more time you spend together, the better you will know each other
• You will learn your baby’s cues, and the baby will be calmer hearing your familiar voice and your heartbeat
• You will feel more confident in your ability to care for the baby when you go home from the hospital