One of our fabulous bloggers just had her new baby girl last week at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. She had given birth there previously and had a great experience so decided that’s where she wanted to give birth for the second time. Everything went well, her birth went great and the doctors and nurses have been wonderful but she was surprised by one change – they recently got rid of the hospital nursery.
She and her husband were exhausted and hoping to get 2-3 hours of sleep by sending their new baby girl to the nursery but it turns out, that nursery is being turned into an education room and they have a new mandatory 24 hour “room in” policy. I was really struck by this. I completely understand that many moms want to room in. I know all the pros of this – helps with breastfeeding and bonding. But what about the moms who desperately need a few hours of sleep to recover physically and mentally before heading home where they will really be on duty 24 hours a day? What about the moms like me who had a very long, difficult labor resulting in an emergency c-section? The hospital I gave birth at 2 years ago welcomed taking my daughter for a little bit so my husband and I could rest. I really feel like we’re forgetting that birth can take a serious toll on a woman’s body and that she may need extra help in those first days as her body (and mind) is recovering. A mandatory room in policy, in my opinion, has negative implications for women’s health.
Apparently there are a few other hospitals in the state following suit – getting rid of their newborn nurseries. I heard a rumor that Hartford Hospital is going to start a new 24 hour a day room in policy so I decided to call them to confirm. The woman I spoke with said that yes, they will be moving in that direction but said they will still have a nursery. I asked what would happen if a mom requested to use the nursery after the room in policy goes into effect and she wasn’t sure. She told me that they are still working out the details. I also asked her why they’re making this change in the first place and she said again she didn’t know.
I still can’t seem to figure out why this is happening and honestly, can’t think of any justifiable reasons.
In one of my research attempts I found this recent article in which a clinical nurse in Pennsylvania said “we are not doing the mom a favor by taking the baby away from her during the night for her to sleep.”
OK. After taking a few deep breaths, I guess I understand that thought process on some level – they want to instill confidence in new moms that they can take care of the baby overnight when they go home. But again, I feel like this mentality completely negates the fact that new moms have just undergone something extraordinary and with how high c-section rates are, many moms have just gone through a major surgery. Maybe we deserve a little favor, like being able to get a few hours of sleep so our body can start to heal before heading home and starting those intense weeks of life with a newborn.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all saying that moms should be sending their newborns to the nursery, I’m simply saying that they at least should have a choice. For some moms (including me), a brief break while trying to recover from a major physical and emotional event is important during the birth recovery process. And now that I think about it, saying that giving a new mom a break isn’t doing her any favors can really make a mom feel like shit about herself if she desperately needs a reprieve. I personally feel that women’s choices should be respected and not judged – if you want to room in with your baby 24 hours a day good for you! If you need a little break – hey, that’s OK! Let’s not start taking these choices away.
Lastly to any mamas-to-be, I highly suggest calling the hospital you’re planning to give birth at to find out what their policy is around rooming in and whether or not a nursery will be available to you.