Like many aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, the debate over whether to send a healthy newborn baby to the hospital nursery at night raises strong emotions. Below, two mothers respond to Sunday’s story, "Is end of the hospital nursery on the horizon?" with their own perspectives:
Bridget Kennedy, 35, Northfield
"I find it interesting that the medical community is telling mothers what to do. Why not trust that the mother knows what's best for her and her baby? Let her know that rooming in and nursery time are both good options. Personally, I feel it's very important for the mom to get a good night's sleep the first two nights. Your body has been through so much and there are trained nurses there to help care for the baby - why not take advantage of them and let your body rest? The idea that you are less bonded with your baby if you take an eight-hour break to sleep is just a bunch of baloney.
But if a mom wants to room in and feels that's what's best for her and her baby, then great! We trusted our moms growing up that they knew what they were doing when it came to us. It's time for the medical community to do that as well."
Irene Cisneros, registered nurse on the mother-baby unit at Rush University Medical Center.
“We recently ‘closed’ our newborn nursery for a more ‘evidenced-based’ and ‘baby-friendly’ approach. We (nurses) were very skeptical about this move as we are a level III center and we really do have some sick mothers that deliver here. Nevertheless this new way of caring for moms and babies was put into place and we had to learn how to adjust our plan of care to meet their needs.
There is evidence that rooming in helps parents learn their newborn's feeding cues whether they are breast feeding or not. The rates for exclusive breast feeding have dramatically increased and it is too early to tell the impact the colostrum given will have on all of these babies that have had a chance to feed the way nature intended.
From a nurse’s perspective having the baby room in is actually more work than people think. The patient is more likely to call and continue to call all the time. It was easier to bring the baby in the nursery and do our assessments and weight in there and feed a bottle. I have worked both days and nights, and I have been in the nursery at night with 16 babies at once. I've had to feed and change them, and I was able to get them all to sleep. Newborns sleep easily those first two days of life as long as they are fed, changed and warm. It was busy but not hard.
I have had patients call me to the room to change a diaper over and over just because they're on the phone or doing other things. I've had patients leave their babies in a dirty diaper and t-shirt full of formula all day. Some are young mothers and some just have a lot of kids. Having them room in is a way to empower them to care for their child and take responsibility from the beginning like every parent that is able to should. I don't want to sound unsympathetic but to expect the baby to go to the nursery because you need sleep is not very practical. What would they do at home? Pregnancy and childbirth is not an illness. What's worse is that the people who had normal scheduled Cesarean sections or normal deliveries are the ones that complain the most about not having a nursery.
Since we initiated continuous rooming in there have been very few complaints from the parents. Our surveys on the subject have shown that parents are happy to have the infant room in. I am happy to be the nurse but I am not a babysitter. I expect to see interaction between the mother and baby. I expect to do hands on teaching and I also expect a return demonstration because it is my job to make sure that the mom will be ready and confident enough to care for their infant when they go home.”