Debate Over Rooming In With Newborns In Hospitals

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Debbie Flores, and her son, Gavin, celebrate Baby-Friendly status at The Woman's Hospital of Texas. (PRNewsFoto/The Woman's Hospital of Texas)
Debbie Flores, and her son, Gavin, celebrate Baby-Friendly status at The Woman's Hospital of Texas. (PRNewsFoto/The Woman's Hospital of Texas)

For decades, when a baby was born in a hospital, the baby was whisked away to the nursery and the mother was taken to her hospital room. Over the years, that standard has shifted, and now more hospitals are using rooming in as the gold standard.

The goal is to keep the baby and mother together for their as much of their hospital stay as possible, using the nursery only for infants who need medical care that cannot be provided in the postpartum recovery room.

Advocates say rooming in helps mothers get to know their babies better and improves the health of both the baby and the mother. However, many new moms say they need more support, which should include having nurses care for their newborn in the nursery for a few hours of much-needed rest.


Lori Pugsley, nursing director of the newborn family units and special care nurseries at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Ananda Lowe, certified lactation counselor, doula, childbirth educator and co-author of "The Doula Guide to Birth: Secrets Every Pregnant Woman Should Know."


The Boston Globe: Maternity Wards Are Moving Away From Nurseries

  • “The shift is part of a national movement designed to promote breastfeeding, bonding, and parenting skills by having mothers and healthy newborns room together around-the-clock, attended by nurses who look after their needs.”

Massachusetts General Hospital: Frequently Asked Questions About Breastfeeding And The Baby-Friendly Initiative

  • "We also encourage rooming-in, meaning baby and mother stay in the same room during their time in the hospital. Studies have shown that mothers actually sleep better when their babies are nearby. This also allows parents to learn early hunger cues that will help make breastfeeding more successful. Returning mothers may also notice that we now only provide complimentary pacifiers if there is a medical reason, as pacifiers in the first few weeks can negatively affect breastfeeding. All of these changes have been scientifically proven to help increase breastfeeding success. Our goal is to help our new mothers and their babies have the best chance to reach their breastfeeding goals."

Cognoscenti: I’m Against Mandatory Rooming-In With Your Baby — Here’s Why

  • "The key issue here is choice. Women who want to 'room-in' with their babies should be allowed to do so. Of course. But mothers who want an hour or two to recover from giving birth should also be given that opportunity."

This segment aired on February 17, 2016.


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