Gone are the days of wee babies being whisked away by birthing staff to stay in the nursery while mom recovers from delivery. Today, hospitals are practicing what’s called “rooming in,” which means keeping mom and baby together immediately after the little one’s arrival.
“(Babies) stay with mom at all times unless clinically necessary to be separated,” explains Joanne Dawson-O’Connor, clinical manager of the Mother Baby Unit at Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn. Newborns stay in a bassinet in the hospital room with mom – and Dawson-O’Connor notes there are many benefits to the practice.
“It helps mom identify feeding cues, it helps with the bonding (and) it helps with mom being more prepared for discharge because they get to see how baby acts through the night,” she says. “It helps them feel a little more comfortable going home.”
Through the rooming in process, mom’s hormones “are being programmed for parenting,” Beaumont says. All those coos and cries help trigger emotions needed to produce milk and nurse baby.
It’s especially helpful if mom decides to breastfeed, Dawson-O’Connor adds, because moms can observe their baby’s signals when they’re hungry and baby is able to breastfeed more often. “Where as if the baby is brought to a nursery, mom misses those cues and sometimes the staff would give bottles or pacifiers that mom did not want.”
Other perks include better sleep, a more content baby and a safer baby – with the added bonus of medical staff still being present when needed during recovery.
The practice is something hospitals have already been doing for a while, especially those with Baby-Friendly designations, Dawson-O’Connor says. Rooming in is one of the outlined Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding that all Baby-Friendly facilities must follow.
Aside from moms with complications following birth, “we encourage rooming in at all costs, if possible,” Dawson-O’Connor says.
Dawson-O’Connor says while not every parent likes rooming in, the hospital staff has received positive responses from parents saying they learned a lot about their new addition and thus feel more prepared going home. They also said that during their stay in the hospital, they felt safer with baby sleeping nearby.
Interested in giving birth at a Beaumont Hospital? For a referral to a Beaumont OB-GYN, visit beaumont.org/maternity or call 800-633-7377.