Baby-Friendly Is Not So Parent-Friendly Sometimes

In the last couple of years, hospitals across the country have been quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) eliminating nurseries for after the baby is born unless there is a medical need. It is part of a “baby-friendly move that many hospitals are making and say is best.

According to Lori Pugsley, the newborn family unit’s nursing director at Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital, "The research is abundant, and it shows the benefits of keeping a mom and baby together in a room really creates an environment that's the healthiest for the baby and the healthiest for the mothers."

However, many mothers are not so happy about it. Liz Schafer, an expecting mother in Michigan with two young kids at home, stated, This is so screwed up! You can't bed share unless it's time to breastfeed and btw, let's not give mothers who just gave birth ANY time to sleep or recover even in the hospital. It's bad enough our villages are not like they used to be and moms don't get the help they need and we wonder why the rates of ppd are so high but by getting rid of nurseries moms can't even get help in the hospital. I'm so dreading giving birth this time for this reason.”

A big part of the push behind this baby-friendly movement is that hospitals believe that, by pushing parents to room in with their babies, it will strengthen the parent-baby bond and will help encourage and promote breastfeeding. We are all about strong parent-baby bonds and breastfeeding at Newborn Care Solutions. Our newborn care specialists know it helps promote optimal growth and development, both physically and emotionally, for the baby. But what about the parents, mainly the mother who has just given birth —  what does it do for them? According to the studies, it helps mothers bond and heal as well. But not so fast, say those mothers, and there seems to be some backing behind them.

These mothers, particularly those who are not first-time parents, know what is coming when they head home and they want some sleep. And so do their partners. They know that bringing that new baby home is going to mean a lack of sleep and after just going through hours of labor and/or major surgery, they want some rest. And it appears that ACOG (the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology) actually agrees with them. According to the article in Today, “The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is in favor of breastfeeding as an organization,” but they also believe that "all providers should respect and support a woman's informed decision."

So what are expecting parents to do if they find out the hospital they are delivering at is one of the over 500 hospitals nationwide that will eliminate nurseries (except in medical necessity cases) by the end of 2017?

  1. Check to see if your delivery hospital will have a nursery when you deliver or if they are eliminating it.
  2. Find out what their plan/policy will be if you want the baby to be taken out of your room while you are there. Do they have a backup option? (Some hospitals have discussed or are putting babies in isolettes in the hallways!)
  3. Find out what their response plan is if you have a c-section and need assistance to get to your crying baby.
  4. Discuss with your partner what time he or she can devote to assisting with your care while you are in the hospital. Some partners may be able to stay with you the entire time, but many will not or there may be other children and/or pets to care for at home.
  5. Consider your family options.  For some people, there may be a mother, mother-in-law, or other close relative that can provide assistance either at home so your partner can be there or at the hospital while your partner takes care of other obligations.
  6. Consider the services of a postpartum professional such as a postpartum doula or Newborn Care Specialist. They are trained to help from the day a baby is born, and they will come and work in the hospital with you, giving your baby the personalized one-on-one newborn child care that even a nursery cannot give them and allowing you the best of both worlds. You can rest and recover from the birth of your child and have a personalized, in-room professional newborn care specialist for both you and your baby.

If you want more information on what a newborn care specialist can do for your family or are considering taking newborn care specialist training from the nations leading training program, check out or contact us today!

Tonya Sakowicz
Founder & CEO
Additional Articles by Tonya:

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