Remember how back in the day, new moms exhausted from giving birth could send their baby to the hospital nursery to catch some shut-eye? Well, looks like those days are over.
As part of "The Baby-Friendly Initiative" started by UNICEF and the World Health Organization in 1991, more and more hospitals are eliminating the baby nursery all together in an effort to promote breastfeeding and increase mother-child bonding. This means that unless there is an urgent reason, the baby will stay with their mother in the same room 24/7 following delivery, a practice commonly referred to as "rooming in."
Today reports that there are now 355 "baby-friendly" hospitals in the U.S. and that there will be 530 of them by the end of 2017. That would cover approximately one in four births across the nation.
One of those baby-friendly hospitals is Massachusetts General Hospital. Newborn family units nursing director Lori Pugsley tells Today, "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."
But does it really?
Most "been there, done that" moms know how physically and emotionally exhausting the labor and delivery process can be—not to mention the nonstop visitors, the constant barrage of hospital staff, the difficulty of trying to learn how to breastfeed and the fact that a newborn pretty much eats around the clock—so to have an hour of relief so you can just, you know, recover is a welcome relief for many moms.
Or, say you already have a kid (or two) at home and would like to use your hospital stay as a time to sleep for a few hours and be as physically and mentally ready for the chaos that will be waiting once you get home. It would no longer be an option.
While there are still hospitals that do offer a baby nursery, it's just something else to keep in mind as you tour hospitals where you might deliver your baby.