Closing newborn nurseries is unethical

image

I’m deeply disappointed to learn that the hospitals in my state, Massachusetts, are closing their newborn nurseries. It reflects short sighted capitulation to lactivists, and doesn’t accomplish its stated aim. Most importantly, it’s unethical.

As the Boston Globe explained:

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. Many postpartum specialists now believe that nurseries, long a life raft for recovering mothers, is not the best, or most natural, way to provide care…

Women seeking a few hours of rest after hours of labor or a caesarean section often are surprised to learn that Massachusetts hospitals are increasingly restricting nursery access or, in some states, have closed the nurseries altogether. In Boston, Boston Medical Center began widespread “rooming-in’’ years ago, Mass. General followed suit more recently, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is taking similar steps. They collectively deliver more than 11,000 babies a year. Brigham and Women’s Hospital also expects to move in this direction.

There no evidence that rooming in leads to increased breastfeeding rates and there’s no plausible mechanism by which it would do so.

The national movement is the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. The initiative is the crowning glory of the breastfeeding industry’s effort to shame women into breastfeeding. The appellation “baby friendly” is a deliberate slap in the face to women who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. It offers a hospital credential (for $11,000) provided the hospital can demonstrate that it has done everything possible to harass women who don’t want to breastfeed by lecturing them about its purported benefits, making formula inconvenient and humiliating to obtain within the hospital, and depriving women of gifts of free formula to use when they go home.

What’s wrong with the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative?

1. In first world countries with easy access to clean water, the benefits of breastfeeding are trivial: a few less colds and episodes of diarrheal illness across the entire population of infants. That’s it. What about all the other amazing claims about breastfeeding? They’re based on research that is weak, conflicting and riddled with confounders.

2. The breastfeeding industry’s understanding of the relationship between rooming in and breastfeeding is precisely backward. Rooming in (baby in the room at all times) doesn’t promote breastfeeding; breastfeeding promotes rooming in, because the women most ideologically committed to exclusive breastfeeding are also ideologically committed to keeping their babies with them at all times. Not only is there no evidence that rooming in leads to increased breastfeeding rates; there’s no plausible mechanism for it to do so. The implication of forced rooming in policies is that women make serious infant feeding decisions based on trivial factors like whether or not they can get some sleep when exhausted by sending the baby to the nursery.

3. Forced rooming in is UNSAFE. Rooming in safely requires a the presence of someone to watch the baby while the mother sleeps. Why is a second person needed? Because many mothers have trouble lifting babies out of hospital bassinets and therefore keep babies in bed with them. It is potentially DEADLY for babies to sleep in hospital beds with their mothers. We know that both soft bedding (such as that in hospital beds) and maternal impairment from narcotics (given for pain relief after C-section or vaginal tears) are associated with sudden infant death.

And that is exactly what has been happening in hospitals. Healthy babies have been dying, either dropped out of bed or accidentally suffocated by their mothers’ bodies. According to the  paper Deaths and near deaths of healthy newborn infants while bed sharing on maternity wards in the Journal of Perinatology:

We report 15 deaths and 3 near deaths of healthy infants occurring during skin-to-skin contact or while bed sharing on maternity wards in the United States. Our findings suggest that such incidents are underreported in the United States and are preventable.

What factors contributed to these 15 deaths and 3 near deaths?

In eight cases, the mother fell asleep while breastfeeding. In four cases, the mother woke up from sleep but believed her infant to be sleeping when an attendant found the infant lifeless. One or more risk factors that are known or suspected (obesity and swaddling) to further increase the risk of bed sharing were present in all cases. These included … maternal sedating drugs in 7 cases; cases excessive of maternal fatigue, either stated or assumed if the event occurred within 24 h of birth in 12 cases; pillows and/or other soft bedding present in 9 cases; obesity in 2 cases; maternal smoking in 2 cases; and infant swaddled in 4 cases.

Lactivists, being privileged women themselves, envision that everyone else is like them: privileged to have a partner who will participate in in-hospital baby care, who can take time off from work to be there, and who has enough money to pay a babysitter to stay home with any older children. It doesn’t make any difference to lactivists if they can’t send their babies to the nursery while they sleep; someone else is there to watch the baby. But that’s not the case for most women; they are solely responsible for the care of their newborn even if they are exhausted by a long labor, in pain from surgery or vaginal tears, and impaired by pain relieving narcotics. Closing well baby nurseries doesn’t merely deprive these less privileged women of time to recover; it literally puts their babies at risk for death at their own hands. That is unethical.

Keep in mind that no one is preventing rooming in. If lactivists want to keep their own babies in their rooms 24/7, they are welcome to do so. But that’s not enough for them; they want to FORCE other women to keep THEIR babies in their rooms with them whether they want to or not. And the kicker is that there’s no evidence that rooming in promotes breastfeeding and no plausible mechanism by which it would.

Any initiative that results in the preventable deaths of babies can’t possibly be baby friendly and it isn’t mother friendly, either. So whose needs are being served by closing well baby nurseries? The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative should really be called the Lactivist Friendly Hospital Initiative, because it is only the needs of lactivists that are being served. But that’s enough to give hospitals cover to save money by cutting out the nursing staff needed to maintain well baby nurseries. So privileged women have given hospitals the convenient excuse to save money at the expense of poor women and their babies.

How convenient!

How unsafe!

How immoral!

  • JRSCline

    Amen, amen, amen. I was induced in both my previous births and had been two days already sleepless in the hospital by the time my baby was placed in my arms. I was absolutely exhausted after very hard active labor, with horrible hemmorhoids, 2nd degree tears, and sheer sleep deprivation.

    I don’t sleep well outside of my own bed, ever. It was bad enough that the nurses came in and turned on the lights every four hours to pester me for a stupid blood pressure reading. I couldn’t get back to sleep with all the interruptions, couldn’t sleep at all with the baby in-room because I was in hypervigilant mode, unable to relax, constantly monitoring the baby.

    Finally, after 48 hours without sleep, I broke down and cried inconsolably until the nurses brought a supervisor, whom I begged, “Please, let me sleep, take my baby and just leave me alone for a few hours, please.”

    This was a military hospital and rules were rules. They took the baby for as long as it was convenient for them (about 90 minutes) and then brought him back. I got no rest until I left the hospital.

    Baby-friendly? Not so much. (I nearly dropped him several times in my haze of fatigue.) Mom-friendly? Not at all. Rooming-in might be promoted by activists, but it’s really being adopted because it’s easy for staff and comes with cost savings for the hospital, not superior outcomes.

  • Wombat

    Old thread but I’m playing catch up, so I suppose I’ll reverse parachute anyways.

    It’s admittedly a tiny portion of the people affected by BFHI, but I wonder how surrogates feel about this? Or other adoption moms? It’s already an emotional process even if mom is 100% on board, a bonding-forcing initiative is just like ‘how about we stitch this bandaid on before we rip it off’.

    Additionally, part of the reason hospitals work so well as Baby ‘Safe Place’s is the nursery. What damage is no nursery (vs reduced access) doing to that?

    Obviously the big point is still the reduction in services and options to recovering moms, but that point appears to (sadly) be beyond discussion for some supporters and hospital admins. The above two are more minor but also much more cut and dried.

  • sdsures

    When did a post about closing newborn nurseries change into a debate about abortion?

    • Nick Sanders

      Only communists stick to the topic at hand.

      • sdsures

        Oh, wait, I see it now. A common mistake, which Sarah has so flagrantly made, is to equate “socialism” (which type, though?) with socialized medicine. She also has a poor understanding of what socialism entails.

        They are not the same thing, and do not necessarily occur in the same country. For example, neither the UK nor Canada are “socialist”, yet we both have socialized medicine.

        I don’t know how she got onto the topic of mudskippers, though.

  • Sarah Toenin

    It is absolute communism disguised as hospital policy. It takes away freedom of choice and imposes THEIR WAY on new mothers. Just wait until epidurals and circumcision are banned and bottle feeding becomes a criminal offense. My niece had a baby two days ago and was FORCED to have immediate skin to skin contact with the baby for a minimum of two hours. It didn’t matter she was exhausted or that she had to get stitched or that she needed a needle removed from her spine. They didn’t even wipe the vernix off the baby for seven hours! This too, is policy. My niece said she was miserable & soaking wet from birth fluids for hours! The baby was finally bathed in the sink next to the bed but never removed from the room. After 24 hrs she requested a pacifier and was refused. They are PROHIBITED. Shortly thereafter she was FORCED to receive counseling on nipple confusion caused by pacifiers! And, well, bottle feeding will land you in the hospital basement. Her birthing experience was ruined and she’s leaving the hospital exhausted from having no sleep in 72 hours. What in the F is going on in this country? Breast feeding policies teach women that bottle feeding is akin to arsenic. I have a nephew who is underweight and malnourished because his mother doesn’t produce enough milk. But hey, nevermind all that – better a kid starve than have formula! I am appalled and outraged at the rights of women being trampled in the name of what? empowerment?! Regardless where you stand, if you think forcing women to comply with policy grounded in ‘theory’ that eliminates choice, do not balk when it backfires because it won’t stop here. Your rights, your freedoms are being stripped right in front of you and you’re stupid enough to believe it’s about what’s best for baby as opposed to stripping away your rights as an responsible adult to choose what’s best for you and your family.

    • Who?

      I’m not sure it’s helpful to identify these initiatives as communist, particularly when they arise out of a movement that celebrates a kind of extreme individualism more accurately associated with the doctrines of fascism.

      However.

      The events you describe are a disgrace, and it is terrible that anyone should need an advocate when they go to hospital, to avoid ideologically driven ‘care’. People who want to formula feed end up looking like extremists themselves, if they have to be prepared to fight against the kind of behaviour you describe.

      And yes, removing the freedom to make decisions according to your own lights, and in what you understand to be your own and your family’s best interests, is not right. Particularly when the long term damage is really to a person who has no right to choose, and whose care will be the long term responsibility of the person who wasn’t able to make the choice.

      • Sarah Toenin

        “Extreme individualism” is a pretty word for militant activism that ends with absolute control. It always begins for the greater good of our most vulnerable, but the goal is totalitarianism. There’s nothing individual about it.

        These same people pretending to care about newborns by imposing these outrageous policies on a national level are the same people who claim partial birth abortion in the 42nd week is a woman’s right. No mention of what’s best for baby then, oddly enough.

        When a baby has to stay behind because of a minor issue such as jaundice, these ‘baby friendly’ hospitals suddenly have no issue discharging the mother in advance. Turns out, all that inseparable bonding & exclusive breast feeding becomes a complete non issue. If they really believe what they impose on women, they’d have a complimentary room for mothers to stay in during situations like this but they DO NOT.

        Despite the lack of unbiased, published data and solid scientific findings concerning the effects antidepressants have on a mother’s ability to bond, as well as the risks to a baby that’s breastfed milk laden with drugs that alter brain chemistry & DNA, these same activists aren’t least bit concerned about such trivial issues. As a matter of fact, they minimize what dangers are known. The notion that it’s safe to breastfeed while taking antidepressants is beyond appalling and the average person doesn’t need a published study to confirm it. But according to breastfeeding nazis, it’s completely harmless.

        They don’t care if your baby falls into the failure to thrive category because the mother isn’t producing enough milk. They would rather your baby die than to give you the ‘ok’ to supplement with formula. I’m not kidding. I have a nephew whose mother has bought into this racket and we have had a hell of a time with her. He is malnourished and she refuses to supplement based on advice from her lactation consultant We’ve had to get the state involved.

        Like I said, this has nothing to do with babies or individualism or empowerment or health benefits. It’s about forcing people to comply, it’s about eliminating choice and violating personal freedoms. It will not end here.

        • Who?

          We’re in violent agreement on essentials.

          The original activity is one of extreme individualism, which has morphed into a movement, which has itself been overtaken by people who see an opportunity to build a public profile, and in the case of businesses like hospitals, save a dollar and even make one by providing ‘services’ in line with the policy. Not to mention the industry, often based on microbusinesses, that has built up around providing essentials for what they would otherwise suggest is an entirely natural, straightforward process.

          Women here have talked about being told to not take all kinds of medication, so they can breastfeed. And some have been offered ‘supplements’ that are supposed to assist with breastfeeding but which also, unbeknown to the ignorant person proffering them, react badly with medications necessary for health which they can safely take while breastfeeding.

          I am also concerned about the anti-vax movement and the ‘alternative’ medicine movement, both of which participate in this space. Self interested stupid, promising certainty, if allowed to flourish, will find it easy to overcome slow and steady science in certain circles.

          • Sarah Toenin

            Gotta love a homeopathic, antivax tree hugger. These types (like the idiot nikkilee below) could care less about science, they gravitate to woo studies published by bloggers who live exclusively on wheat grass smoothies. A study consisting of five participants living in an impoverished third world country that ‘proves’ what they believe to be true – this is the gold standard.

            They should ask Steve Jobs what he thinks about holistic medicine.

            What a stupid time to be alive.

          • Who?

            On the whole I agree, but I find your pejoratives muddled. A bit like the communist/socialist comments above.

            There are plenty of ‘tree huggers’ who vaccinate themselves and their families and would rather have a pencil in their eye than consume or even be in the same room with a wheat grass smoothie.

            Life’s complicated.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      “That’s nothing but pure old fashioned communism”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR9ZC4mjcaU

      • Who?

        Love it!

    • Box of Salt

      Sarah Toenin “It is absolute communism disguised as hospital policy.”

      Would that be communism according Lenin or Marx, Soviet communism, Chinese communism, or McCarthy communism?

      The story you relate about your niece’s struggles could be compelling. Your slapping meaningless labels on it isn’t.

  • nikkilee

    Rooming-in is for all mothers; it is about promoting relationship. No mammal separates from its newborn after birth . . . except humans. Mothers and babies have been routinely separated in hospitals since the early 1900s, when breastfeeding was discouraged because babies would get germs, and when birth involved heavy anesthesia. This is has been a mistake for the start of relationship. Mothers should go home with babies they know, and have learned about. There are, of course, always exceptions; hospitals do accommodate for that. For most people though, babies do best with their mothers near. The biggest job hospitals have is to promote relationship, this is more important than breastfeeding. Now let the flames begin! warmly, Nikki

    • Who?

      I’m not going to flame you Nikki, just point out the gaps in your logic.

      The point is that it isn’t all about the baby. Mum has needs too-for sleep, pain relief, and support at what can be a challenging time. Leaving a tiny infant in the care of someone who can’t get up to take themselves to the toilet isn’t showing responsibility or care for either party.

      Putting a newborn in a hospital bed unsupervised with anyone, let alone an exhausted, drug affected person (whose only qualiification for this responsibility is that she just happens to recently have given birth to that baby) is not in the best interests of either.

      And it is really cheap for hospitals to close nurseries as the extra space allows them to put in more rooms to fill.

      • nikkilee

        Hospital nurseries introduce risks that we are used to dealing with: kidnapping (ankle bracelet security is very expensive), and infection. These risks go down when babies are with their mothers. Mothers enjoy having the pediatrician see their baby in the room and the pediatricians in our city are finding it is rewarding too.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          How does the risk of infection in a hospital that has good infection reduction protocols in place and followed compared to the risk of a baby smothering under an overly tired mother? What is the incidence of iatrogenic infection acquired in a newborn nursery by a full term baby? (I’m asking because I don’t know these numbers, not rhetorically.)

          • nikkilee

            http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/infections-in-neonates/neonatal-hospital-acquired-infection. Less than 1%. In the US, that would be about 40,000 babies a year. MRSA is a very serious infection.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            MRSA is indeed a very serious infection and is becoming more and more common in the community. As your link states, a significant proportion of these infections may be acquired from the mother (and other family members) and therefore are not related to the nursery. I’d be interested to see how infection rates change after elimination of nurseries.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Um…did you read your own reference? The vast majority of hospital acquired infections occur in very low birth weight babies or babies requiring prolonged hospitalization. And the most common infection in term neonates is S aureus skin infection, most commonly as a result of infection from normal skin flora either of the neonate or the mother. How does rooming in help reduce that risk?

          • moto_librarian

            You do understand that NICU babies aren’t eligible for rooming-in, right? Read your own damned references before you start extolling the benefits of rooming-in.

          • Nick Sanders

            Funny, didn’t see any suggestions about making mothers room in anywhere on that page. But there were guidelines for making nurseries safer…

        • SporkParade

          The hospital nursery saved me from losing my mind completely after my sanity was very severely frayed by a combination of giving birth at an inconvenient hour sleep-wise and the sheer cruelty of the hospital’s efforts to promote exclusive breastfeeding. I would have enjoyed being their for the pediatrician visits, but I am a big fan of having the baby in the nursery as much as possible so the mother can rest. Especially since not everyone can have a support person, such as the child’s father, help take care of the baby in the hospital.

        • PrimaryCareDoc

          Regarding kidnapping- I suggest you actually look at the statistics, which can be found here: http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/InfantAbductionStats.pdf

          Over a period of 32 years (32 YEARS!!) there were 132 kidnappings of newborns from hospitals. Only 17 of those were from the nursery (13%). 58% of them were from the mom’s room.

          By the way, only 12 of those babies were not recovered. So, 12 missing babies in 32 years.

          On the other hand, we have 15 baby deaths in 14 years that were directly related to rooming in and bed-sharing. And the authors state that that number is likely highly underreported.

          Kinda blows that theory out of the water.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Good point. How is kidnapping less likely when the babies are in different places all over the ward, sometimes with mothers who are asleep or on opiates? Especially given that the women are unfamiliar with the hospital and less likely to question a stranger who comes into the room and says that they need to take the baby for routine testing or something. Indeed, it sounds like the mother’s room is probably less safe, with 58% of kidnappings being from the mother’s room (though you really can’t say for sure without knowing how much time the newborns spend in the mother’s room versus the nursery.)

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            My guess is that the vast, vast majority of these kidnappings are by the non-custodial parent.

          • demodocus

            When i volunteered at a hospital some 20 years ago, one of the senior volunteers walked me to and through the L&D department the first time, in part so people (nurses and security guard) would know I wasn’t just wandering in. (We delivered flowers and stuff sometimes) Babies were either in the nursery behind locked doors or in the mother’s room (usually open at that hour). They’d had a kidnapping a few years before and took security in that department *very* seriously. (baby was fine and back with its parents within a couple hours. One of those sad women who desparately want children and are crazy enough to think they can just go grab one.)

          • BeatriceC

            The last few news reports I’ve read of newborn kidnapping attempts from hospitals generally have the same story line: Person in scrubs shows up and tells mom the baby has to go for tests. Person walks out of unit with baby. The shit hits the fan when it was discovered that said person was an imposter.

            It’s easy to buy scrubs and a stethoscope. I can make pretty good fake ID’s in my home office, and my home office is pretty outdated. Come to think of it, if I wanted to do it, I wouldn’t even have to leave my house to get everything I need. MrC still has a lot of the Original MrsC’s stuff, including her old scrubs and stethoscopes (and since she was a PICU nurse, she had the tiny newborn sized ones). But if I didn’t have all that, I could go down to Walmart and buy scrubs and then go to a uniform store to buy the stethoscopes. If I was really lazy I could just order them online.

          • demodocus

            it’s easy to *make* scrubs.

        • Charybdis

          Did you poll ALL the mothers? Because I didn’t care where the pediatrician saw the baby, and LOVED being able to send him to the nursery overnight.

          Why is it assumed that each and every woman will immediately become so besotted with their newborn that they will not allow the baby to leave their line of sight? As long as my son was being cared for by responsible people (nurses in the nursery, DH, Grandmas, etc) I was happy to let that happen. How is this so hard to understand?

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            I guarantee that the pediatricians would rather see the babies in the nursery than run all over the wards looking for them.

        • momofone

          I actually didn’t care where my son’s pediatrician saw him; she always came to my room afterward and updated me about what was happening. You paint with some awfully broad strokes.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            And what do pediatrician rounds have to do with having the baby go to the nursery at night? Pedes are doing rounds during the middle of the night? Didn’t at our hospital…

          • momofone

            Ours did, but my son was in special care.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yeah, I almost wrote “wellness visits” in the original.

          • BeatriceC

            To this day my youngest son loves Elvis Presley’s song “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. I used to sing it to him through the isolette before I was even allowed to touch him.

        • Sarah

          All mothers? You asked all of them? What about the mothers on here who are telling you otherwise? Also, what do the warm feelz of the paediatricians have to do with anything? They can find things rewarding in their own time.

        • demodocus

          Because I’d have been able to stop a kidnapper I might not have heard when I was so exhausted i couldn’t stand?

          • Nick Sanders

            You could have waved an arm and moaned something incomprehensible at them, and they’d have scampered aware, afraid for their life.

          • demodocus

            Considering my godzilla good looks, that might’ve worked :p

        • Elizabeth A

          Are hospitals who do away with nurseries also doing away with ankle bracelet security? Because that seems unlikely to me.

          • demodocus

            My boyo roomed in and had an ankle bracelet. They forgot to take it off when we were leaving and it set the alarms off.

        • MaineJen

          Um, yeah. Ankle bracelets are still a thing. Infection is still a thing.

        • Nick Sanders

          So compare the relative risks. Even if we skip the weighting for things like kidnapping victims being found sometimes before even leaving the premises and some babies surviving falls unharmed, which happens more frequently: babies being stolen or falling out of mom’s bed because she’s asleep?

        • anh

          my baby friendly hospital which refused to take my daughter to the nursery and discharged me dangerously dehydrated and exhausted with a jaundiced daughter still had that expensive ankle system.

    • Houston Mom

      “The biggest job hospitals have is to promote relationship” – ?? Hospitals’ biggest job is to keep their patients alive and safe.

      • nikkilee

        My mistake. Of course life and safety are first. In maternity, what comes next is helping mother and baby fall in love with each other. That is more important than feeding method. As for keeping patients alive and safe, US hospitals are the worst in the developed world for keeping mothers alive and safe through labor. http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/severematernalmorbidity.html

        • Houston Mom

          I think love is the greatest thing in the world. Grows like a weed not a greenhouse orchid. You must not have such a high opinion of it if you think it can be squelched by allowing exhausted new parents a bit of sleep before they go home.

        • Charybdis

          Really? Is that listed somewhere as a concrete goal? How would you measure it on a survey? Did you love your newborn right after they insisted on skin-to-skin with an unwashed, slippery baby? No? Did you love your newborn when they insisted you latch him/her onto your breast to initiate breastfeeding? Still no? Did you love your newborn when s/he was screaming in hunger and you had been awake for 36 hours straight? No again? When exactly did you fall in love with your newborn? Before the birth? What? You mean we failed in making the two of you fall in love while in the hospital? This is not going to look good on my evaluation this quarter.

          Nucking futs, this is.

          • momofone

            I’ve been going through old insurance claims, and I can’t find “love” on any of them! (I wonder how they code that?) Clearly the hospitals I’ve used have their priorities out of order.

        • momofone

          Love happens over time, and is absolutely not the responsibility of the hospital. It is the natural outgrowth of the relationship you so strongly promote. I expect my hospital to provide staff to adequately care for my baby and for me. We get to figure out the rest as we choose.

        • Nick Sanders

          In maternity, what comes next is helping mother and baby fall in love with each other.

          I wasn’t aware they needed any help on that front. And what happens when things done in the name of promoting bonding interfere with life and safety?

    • MaineJen

      But isn’t there a happy medium between completely separating mother and baby, as used to be done 100 years ago, and forcing the mother and baby to room together 100% of the time, regardless of the mother’s condition or the availability of support people? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. My hospital did rooming in as the default, but they still had the nursery available, and I was very grateful for the few hours of sleep I was able to get on the 2nd night. I was exhausted after a relatively “easy” labor and delivery…imagine what it’s like for someone who’s just had surgery. The relationship will definitely suffer if the mom is overwhelmed and/or unable to care for the baby, right?

      • nikkilee

        There are, of course, always exceptions; hospitals do accommodate for that.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          How does a hospital with no nursery accommodate the “exceptions”? Who judges when an exception can be made? Would, for example, maternal request be considered a reason for making an exception to the rooming in policy?

          • nikkilee

            Every hospital has its own way.

          • momofone

            That’s awfully vague. Could you give some examples?

          • Charybdis

            Like what, for example. Just stating that “every hospital has its own way” to deal with these issues. Ignoring the question is not an answer. Nor is deflecting.

          • Dr Kitty

            You mean like putting bassinets in the corridor beside the nursing station so that who ever is charting can keep half an eye on the babies in them?

            Well that seems so much better than dedicated staff in a secure room.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Every hospital has its own way.”
            More hospitals should consider having the newborns taken care of by post-op patients. For instance post-hysterectomy and post-TURP patients could each be assigned a newborn (or perhaps occassionally 2 newborns). It would save a lot of money. And what would be the downside? How could an abdominal incision or a little tissue rearrangement in the nether regions possibly adversely affect recovery or result in anything less than optimal round-the-clock care of a helpless 7 pound human?

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          I asked for help both the first night of my sons life as I was exhausted and struggling after a long labour and a significant PPH. The first night, the nurse swaddled him, put him back in the bassinet and left. The second night, after finding me crying, the nurse did take him to the nurses station for one or two hours, and that was it. I guess my case wasn’t exceptional enough. I wish I’d demanded more help. Part of the reason why I didn’t was because the midwife at my antenatal classes had mocked the idea of the mother getting help because they needed to learn how to care for the baby on their own.

          You can compare humans to other mammals, but there are key differences. Firstly due to our large heads and upright postures, humans tend to have more difficult births than most other mammals. Secondly, as social animals, the “natural” thing would be to have family around to help rather than be isolated in hospital (not that natural is always better – I’m personally a big fan of not dying in childbirth). Thirdly, no animal in nature is expected to care for a baby after a c section.

          I’m not saying that rooming in shouldn’t happen or that babies should spend all their time in the nursery. But not having the option is cruel.

          • guest

            Mocking women for not immediately assuming all childcare duties. What is with that? Do we mock heart attack sufferers for not immediately assuming all self-care after open heart surgery? Do we mock people with the flu for asking their partner or a babysitter for some extra help with the kids while they rest? When we go through extraordinarily taxing experiences, we are expected to rest afterwards. But not childbirth. Goodness. It’s not like that is one of the most painful and exhausting of human experiences, oh no.

        • Charybdis

          I call “Shenanigans” on that. There are plenty of people who post here that will refute that statement. Anecdata, sure. But when the “experience” is what you are evaluating, you have to take into account the personal stories of mistreatment, gaslighting and downright abuse from the so-called “professionals” who are there to care for patients. Notice I said “patients” (plural). The mother is a patient too and her needs matter just as much as or more than the baby’s, because she will be discharged to cope on her own with said newborn. People seem to forget this fact.

        • Sarah

          Are you aware that sometimes they don’t?

        • Azuran

          A mother wanting to rest for a while is not ‘an exception’ it’s a basic thing and everyone should have the option available to them.

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      No mammals drive…except humans. No mammals use the internet…except humans. No mammals have to head back to work after 6 weeks of maternity leave…except humans.

      Can we please STOP with the biologic essentialism? Do you really, truly feel that a baby’s relationship with its mother is going to be irreparably harmed because it goes to the nursery for a couple of hours in the first 48 hours of life? There are 8760 hours in a year. Do five or six hours in a nursery, so mom can get some time to recover from an incredibly physically traumatic event, going to break the relationship???

      No. Of course not. That is total bullshit.

      This is purely about saving money. Getting rid of nurseries and forcing “rooming in” is about cost cutting and the bottom line.

      Oh, by the way, no mammals use money….except humans.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        No mammals use the internet…except humans.

        If anyone out there is a non-human mammal or for that matter, a non-mammal, please do disclose because your existence is extremely cool, IMHO.

        • demodocus

          I’m Empress of the Iguana People.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Cool! Pleased to meet you your Highness. I suppose that means you get a pass for not breast feeding, being a reptile and all.

          • momofone

            Seriously? You think that’s a good enough excuse?!

          • demodocus

            Apparently not. Sigh.

        • BeatriceC

          You’ll never know if it’s me or the Evil Attack Parrot. He uses tools, so you just don’t know if he’s figured out how to use my laptop.

          http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn67/mmsw1/Mobile%20Uploads/1440571942_zps36de3848.jpg

          On another note, I’m pretty convinced that if birds and cats ever became friends, they really would take over the world.

      • kfunk937

        My cat uses the internet. Or so my friends tell me.

      • Roadstergal

        She got on the Internet all the time as a puppy. Now that she’s older, she just Tweets.

    • momofone

      I don’t go to hospitals to have “relationship” promoted; I go to receive medical care that I expect to be provided in a professionally responsible manner. My “relationship” with my baby is none of the hospital’s business. Our care is.

      • Charybdis

        Damn straight! I don’t go to the hospital for “relationship help” and being forced into caring for a newborn when I myself need some care (sleep, healing from CS, catheter, IV, etc) is NOT helping our supposed “critical bonding period”.

        • Dr Kitty

          Funny how the “critical bonding period” only applies to mum.
          If dad goes home to care for older kids and only sees new baby for an hour or two every day HE is still expected to be perfectly bonded.

          If, G-d forbid, the baby goes to the nursery for four hours so mum can shower and sleep, apparently she’ll forget which one is her baby and how to feed them and the bond will be RUINED FOREVER.

          I don’t buy it.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            If dad goes home to care for older kids and only sees new baby for an hour or two every day HE is still expected to be perfectly bonded.

            This is based on a false premise – that dad is expected to bond with the child.

            Not at all. Dad’s are babysitters, not parents. Consequently, they are not expected to live up to the things that mothers have to. Dads are considered successful and heroic if they don’t give their kids beer for lunch, so long as they bring a paycheck.

            Bonding? Not at all. In fact, dads can’t bond like mothers because they don’t breastfeed. QED.

          • AA

            Beer for lunch? You’re just providing them with a natural fermented beverage! Good for you!

            Even better if you fermented breastmilk!

          • Charybdis

            Breastmilk yogurt! Or kefir! Breastmilk yogurt to cure your yeast infection! How many woo stars do I get for my chart if I do all three of those?

          • Roadstergal
          • Sarah

            Real fathers induce lactation.

          • Charybdis

            It’s like imprinting for baby birds. Or that baby bird in the book going up to all the different animals asking “Are you my mother?”. Like we’re going to forget our baby, or the baby will forget us.

            We don’t have Etch-A-Sketch minds; one sneeze or head shake and we have to start over from scratch. Why do people push this dreck and why do so many people buy into it?

        • demodocus

          Strictly speaking, my shrink’s office is in a hospital :p
          (point taken, but this is amusing me and I’ll take amusement where i can get it)

      • PrimaryCareDoc

        Yes!

    • Dr Kitty

      Babies almost dying when left alone in the delivery room with their mothers for skin to skin is a real risk.
      http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/127/4/e1073.full.pdf

      Babies dying in maternity hospitals because their exhausted mothers have fallen asleep with the baby in their bed is a real risk. The authors of the study in the Journal of perinatology which Dr Tuteur linked to think the risk of death or near death from bed sharing in hospital might be as high as 4/1000.
      As you said yourself less than 1% of births would still mean tens of thousands of babies in the USA alone. Suffocation is more serious than MRSA.

      And then there is the risk of an exhausted mother dropping her baby.
      An Audit in Oregon identified that more than half of the incidents of babies falling out of bed or being dropped occurred between 2am and 8am, and there were skull fractures in two babies in the population they studied. Again, you’re talking about thousands of affected babies, and hundreds of CT scans every year to identify babies with skull fractures or brain injuries as a result of these falls.
      http://oregon.providence.org/~/media/files/providence%20or%20migrated%20pdfs/patients%20toolkit/infant%20falls%20in%20hospitals.pdf

      • nikkilee

        Grandparents and fathers drop babies in the hospital, when sitting on chairs and holding them.

        • Sarah

          How do you imagine that pertains to Dr Kitty’s post?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It’s just “babies die in hospitals, too”

        • LaMont

          Yeah but they’re not patients – if the hospital treats you, they should advise on how to manage your condition, not demand that you do something physically beyond your means. Home accidents happen too, but when you’re under a hospital’s direct care and jurisdiction you can reasonably expect the hospital to be more active.

        • Roadstergal

          Sounds like another great reason to have a staffed nursery available to send the newborns to, rather than relying on excited but untrained (and often also sleep-deprived or sometimes jetlagged) caregivers.

        • Charybdis

          So you are saying that because *anybody* can drop a baby in the hospital while sitting on a chair, couch or fold-out bed, the the mother must be forced to room in with her newborn because that somehow makes it okay for craptacular policies to be enacted. “A baby could be dropped by *anyone* at *anytime* in the hospital, even in the nursery, so it is okay to make an often tired, exhausted, sleep-deprived mother step and fetch for her newborn while she is trying to recover herself?

        • Azuran

          *Slow clap*

        • MaineJen

          Seriously…

        • Nick Sanders
    • Inmara

      My relationship with baby would have been much, much better during those first days if I were not forced into serious sleep deprivation due to mandatory rooming in. I was hoping for a family room where husband could help but instead got a shared room with other 2 mothers and babies. That was miserable, and more than once I was endangering my son by holding him in hands while passing out from lack of sleep.

      • Azuran

        wow, that’s bad………Forcing new mothers not only to room in with their own baby, but with the babies of other people as well….
        But still, wouldn’t forcing you to be around other babies so soon after birth, while you are in a very ‘critical’ bonding period be dangerous? I mean, what if you bond with the wrong baby?

        • Erin

          I spent the first three nights as a mother on a ward with three women and their babies whilst mine was at the other end of the hospital in nicu. Clearly I was lucky the bonding fairies didn’t get me.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        I spent a good chunk of the second and third nights of my sons life sitting in bed holding him because that was the only way he would sleep, trying desperately not to fall asleep because I was terrified that I would hurt him and crying because I was so so exhausted. (And I probably had it easy compared to many other mothers since I wasn’t post c section.) I don’t see how that helped us bond.

        I had a shared room too, but luckily for me (and unluckily for the poor woman beside me) she hadn’t given birth yet. It still made things so much worse. I remember trying to breastfeed by the light of my iPhone because I didn’t want to disturb my roommate. The damage done to my nipples in those first few nights nearly scuppered breastfeeding for me.

    • moto_librarian

      The biggest job that the hospital has is to keep me and my baby alive. That’s why I went there for both of my deliveries. I didn’t have more than a brief moment with my oldest child before I began to hemorrhage and he went to the NICU for TTN after an unmedicated, term delivery. I was so weak that I was in a wheelchair for 24 hours postpartum, and I didn’t get to see my son again until the next morning. Despite that, we managed to bond quite well.

      Provided that labor and delivery go well, most parents will have a lifetime of bonding to share with their child. The older that my children get, the less important the day of their birth seems to me. My overall feeling about their births is profound gratitude that we all survived it. We need to quit romanticizing the postpartum period. Even after a normal delivery, most women are exhausted and in some level of pain (I recall falling asleep while having my 2nd degree tear stitched up after my second child was born). Why can’t we give moms a break and let them rest and recover while they are in the hospital?

      • Roadstergal

        And where did we get this idea that ‘bonding’ is a one-time thing anyway? It’s a lifetime of interaction and learning and changing and understanding. One day, one week – it makes very little difference in the grand scheme of things…

        • nikkilee

          The Golden Hour after birth can never be replicated, as it is the time of huge changes in mother and baby after the placenta is delivered. Humans do make commitments and become attached to their babies and love them no matter what happens: a long NICU stay or an adoption. However, this first hour is designed to make it easier.

          • Roadstergal

            “However, this first hour is designed to make it easier.”

            Sorry, Intelligent Design is not a thing that actually exists. Are you a fundamentalist Christian?

            From an evolutionary perspective, it is ridiculous to bond to your baby at birth. In the absence of modern medicine, neonates, babies, and young children die at a fairly high rate. If a mom bonded to her baby at birth, it would impede her ability to care for living children and bear more to get all broken up about a dead one. Bonding to a newborn is a modern luxury that takes for granted all of the technical developments that have made dead babies and children much rarer.

          • nikkilee

            Interesting point of view. Many cultures don’t name their babies for months after birth to be sure that the baby will live. However, infant health and survival is boosted by skin to skin care after birth. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3979156/

          • nikkilee
          • moto_librarian

            Do we live in Ghana, nikkilee? Skin-to-skin may well be a matter of survival in the developing world. You are an idiot.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            But even if that were true, what does it have to do with forced rooming in?

          • Roadstergal

            That article was included in this review summarizing the weak data suggesting minor to transient benefits for skin-to-skin in term infants, but substantial risks that are not generally adequately communicated:
            https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/kangaroo-mother-care-skin-to-skin-contact-and-the-risk-of-sudden-unexpected-postnatal-collapse/

            So, to summarize – you agree there is no need for forced rooming-in to promote bonding, so newborn nurseries should not be eliminated?

          • Amazed

            You mean the text that states, “Further investigation is recommended” and that the intervention “appears” to benefit breastfeeding outcomes before everything else? I guess that’s most important for you, as a LC, but still. And anyway, skin to skin care after birth is some replacement for the lack of NICU in the developing countries, not the countrues that have those.

            Are you, per chance, writing from Somalia or something?

            Authors’ conclusions:
            Limitations included methodological quality, variations in intervention implementation, and outcomes. The intervention appears to benefit breastfeeding outcomes, and cardio-respiratory stability and decrease infant crying, and has no apparent short- or long-term negative effects. Further investigation is
            recommended.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            as no apparent short- or long-term negative effects.

            And this may well be true, right until we get the overreaction like with breastfeeding, where you insist on skin-to-skin instead of doing things you should be doing instead.

            Then it leads to negative effects.

          • BeatriceC

            There’s a reason why so many cultures have naming/spiritual rituals a week or longer after the baby’s birth. So much can go wrong in those first days that they don’t get fully attached until those critical first days have passed and the child is still alive. I know there’s others, but the one I’m thinking about is the Jewish Bris for boys at 8 days, if I recall correctly. It’s my understanding that there’s a different ritual for girls, but neither sex is really “named” before then. It’s easier for the mother if the baby dies if the baby didn’t have a name. After the first week, it was more likely the baby would survive all the dangers of birth and early post-natal period (at least until disease got them later).

          • guest

            And although not for religious reasons, I was actually averse to naming my babies immediately (but did so because the birth certificate people really wanted to get the paperwork done). I wanted to be able to spend some time with the babies and get attached before naming them. I’m not broken up about naming them sooner rather than later, but my instinct was to wait.

            I and dare anyone to try and tell me I’m not as bonded to my children now as a result of a delayed sense of bonding when they were infants.

          • Sarah

            Designed by who? Do you not believe in evolution? I mean, I’m sure there are women who genuinely require no separation from their babies in the first hour in order to be able to bond adequately. I pity those women, it must be awful for the attachment to be so fragile that you’ve no option but to mutually sit there in your own filth. Terrible. But really, some of us are able to manage both bonding and the use of modern washing methods.

          • Bombshellrisa

            “Designed by who”- NCB advocates

          • momofone

            Easier for whom?

          • Inmara

            Why are you suddenly arguing something that is in no relevance here? An hour after birth is not a problem; I guess that in most hospitals baby stays with mother (and/or father) immediately after birth (except in case of health problems), though exact way of doing things may vary (skin-to-skin timing, wiping and dressing baby, putting in warmer box or not etc.) The issue with closing well-baby nurseries is the postpartum stay which can be several DAYS (and nights) long and during which there is no option for moms to have a safe rest if they don’t have assistance from family.

          • Charybdis

            Exactly how does that “Golden Hour” make it easier? I’m being serious. I’ve never gotten a satisfactory answer to that question without a shit-ton of woo masquerading as actual evidence.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “However, this first hour is designed to make it easier.”

            Who “designed” it that way?
            And why does it need to be “easier”? Maybe I’m weird, but I had no trouble loving my babies.

          • guest

            I hope it wasn’t the designer who did the human female reproductive cycle. My monthly cramps and I have song Strong Words for that guy.

          • moto_librarian

            Bullshit. I want to see evidence about this golden-hour that has an actual basis in fact.

          • demodocus

            My husband was whisked away (for breathing in his own poop). Weirdly, he and his mom seem as well attached as any other parent and child.

          • Amazed

            You just don’t understand, do you? Sick kiddos, those in acute need of medical attention, don’t get those scary, relationship-destroying effects. ’cause their moms aren’t heartless enough to abandon them to the nursery when it isn’t needed. Only healthy kids are damaged for life.

          • demodocus

            ah, that makes perfect sense. *snort*

          • BeatriceC

            So I’m not properly bonded to any of my kids then? The three of them, along with myself and their step-father would disagree completely. The “golden hour” is horse shit. It’s a romanticized ideal that somebody pulled out of their ass for whatever reason we might never know.

            For the record:

            Kid 1: Born vaginally at 36 weeks with mild shoulder dystocia, and a community hospital in Mt. Airy, NC. Since he was not term, not breathing well (turns out there was a collapsed lung) and had a very low heartbeat (40bpm), he was resuscitated, stabilized and transferred to the nearest NICU in Wiston-Salem, about an hour away. I didn’t meet him for several days.

            Kid 2: Thankfully I had moved back to Miami, my home town. He was born in a hospital with a great NICU, which is good, because he was born at 32 weeks. I met him a few hours after his birth, but couldn’t hold him as he needed to be briefly intubated.

            Kid 3: Still in Miami, born at a different hospital with a great NICU, but only a level 2. He was born at 24 weeks and had to be transported to a Level 3 NICU. I did meet him briefly after I was recovered enough from the crash c-section to be wheeled past his bed, but then didn’t see him again for a couple days until I was discharged and could travel to the hospital where he was admitted.

            I have strong relationships with all three of my boys. Building those bonds doesn’t happen in a single moment. It happens in the thousands of moments both mundane and magical while taking care of them every single day of their lives.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            Citation? Says who?

          • Erin

            Due to the circumstances of my son’s arrival, I thought he was a doll for most of the first hour of his life. Once I was persuaded otherwise, I was putting him up for adoption. In fact thanks to association (he acted as a trigger) and not helped at all by the hospital’s policies, he was around six months before I felt anything positive for him at all.
            Babies attach securely to their care givers regardless unless you really screw things up but if a Mother feels that first hour makes or breaks her life long relationship with her child, I question that relationship.

          • Azuran

            I’m pretty sure in most cases (unless the baby or the mother needs immediate medical attention) most babies will spend their ‘first hour’ with their parents.
            So then, once this ‘first hour’ (which is total bull**** actually) is over, why do you care that the baby spends the night at the nursery? Your critial ‘first hour’ is already over.

          • Nick Sanders

            Designed?

          • guest

            Bullshit.

          • Sarah Toenin

            Die in a fire.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            So you can tell the difference between a mother-child dyad where the baby went to the nursery during the first hour versus one that spent the first hour together by how they interact at, say, age 5 or 10 or 20? What parameters are different and how certain is the knowledge? Can a person who is blinded to the particular individual’s history tell whether they spent the first hour with their mother by their behavior? Specifics, please. With data.

          • meglo91

            Citation needed. What huge changes occur in the mother? What huge changes occur in the baby? Does the fact that I was too wobbly from preeclampsia and all the attendant medications involved in my treatment to hold the baby for a half hour mean that I’m only half bonded with my second child? Because she was pretty fucking attached to me, baby koala style, for the first two years of her life. Are you saying that, had I held her for the entire hour, she would have been clinging to my back at age 4? Guess I dodged a bullet, then. Whew.

          • Gatita

            This is such bullshit and harmful bullshit at that. The Golden Hour when you’re still in excruciating pain (if you’re going med free) and going through the third stage (which sometimes involves someone rooting around inside of you to remove a stray bit of placenta), maybe getting stitched up. At minimum you’re completely exhausted and bleeding. Why the fuck are you putting pressure on women to have some Golden Moment of bonding under those circumstances? Stop laying that guilt trip on women. You are causing harm!

    • Roadstergal

      “The biggest job hospitals have is to promote relationship”

      That is, generally speaking, the point of hospitals. When I went in for my collarbone repair, I made sure to work with my ortho on relationship-building first and foremost. It just doesn’t happen properly elsewhere!

      Oh, and the IUD insertion. That was a _very_ special time.

      • nikkilee

        Doctors that lack good relationships with their clients are more likely to be sued.

        • momofone

          I would imagine that hospitals that promote “relationship” over medical care risk the same.

          • Roadstergal

            My ortho gives zero fucks about relationship-building. (I actually love her a bit for that, FWIW.) She’s just a really good ortho who does surgical and non-surgical stuff really, really well. The other thing she does really well is lay out the risks and benefits (and rough magnitudes of each) of options clearly.

            I’m not sure how that parallels to this “Golden Hour” shizz. Should the newborn sit down with mom and have a frank conversation about options moving forward?

          • BeatriceC

            The boys’ ortho is good with “relationship building”, but the type of relationship he fosters is a professional one, not a friend one. We have a great doctor/patient (parent) relationship. I don’t think I’d like anything closer than that.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Yep, and that’s why midwives are so big on “relationships.” So that when they make mistakes, they don’t have to get any heat for them.

        • Charybdis

          There are good, working, professional relationships and good personal relationships. I much prefer my healthcare providers be in the first category. I want a professional, educated opinion/answer to health issues, not a warm, fuzzy “let’s make belly casts and string our own amber teething/nursing necklaces whilst drinking tea at our next prenatal appointment” CPM/NCB type of relationship.

          • demodocus

            I bake cookies with my midwife friend; she does not see me half-nude. Ever. Unless I go into precipitous labor during church when the only options are her and the semi-retired vet (who is happily in remission from her cancer bout but still wobbley.) As the paramedics speed to the building.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I bake cookies with my midwife friend; she does not see me half-nude. Ever.

            Yeah, I talk with my doctor about things that I would never talk about with my friends. And my doctor touches me in some ways that my wife won’t even do, much less a casual friend.

            I like my health care people to treat me like a patient, not a friend.

        • Amazed

          Good relationships? You mean a manipulation of the “I’m your FRIEND! How can you think that a friend could have made a mistake that harmed you? What kind of monster would sue a friend?” variety? Like a CPM?

        • Azuran

          Does not mean those lawsuits are legitimate.

        • guest

          i have a good *professional* relationship with my doctors. Must be because of all the times I was forced to room in with them.

      • Nick Sanders

        Did the gynecologist at least buy you dinner first?

        • demodocus

          not mine, but he did give Spawn #1 chocolate.

        • Roadstergal

          There was mood lighting.

    • Megan

      “Mothers should go home with babies they know, and have learned about. ”
      I am a soon-to-be second time mom and frankly, I have plenty of time after I get home to get to know my baby and I have no need for a nurse to show me how to diaper, etc. What I need, and will not have at home, is a chance to rest and recover from a probably CSection. If I need a few hours of rest, you’d better believe I will send my baby to the nursery. She and I are both patients while there and we both deserve care, the same as any other patient in the hospital. Would you ask any other post-op patient to care for a newborn without help or suggest their need for rest amounted to no more than being selfish?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Mothers should go home with babies they know, and have learned about.

      When our first was born, he stayed in the nursery, until he got hungry and they brought him to our room. It didn’t take long where I could recognize his cry before they even got to the room. So could my wife.

      What did we miss out on? I changed most of his diapers, we read books to him in the middle of the night after he got done eating until he fell asleep. And when he fell asleep, I wheeled him back to the nursery until he woke up.

      babies do best with their mothers near.

      Why does a sleeping baby care whether mother is 7 feet away or 70 feet?

    • kfunk937

      This made me laugh

      No mammal separates from its newborn after birth […]

      Evolution provided infants with really annoying cries to get their mother’s attention when separated (assuming they wanted something). Srsly, have you never heard baby bears? Most irresistibly annoying call on the planet. Other examples are pretty every single ungulate, elephants, etc. Primates are a bit different, yeah. But this relentless over-attachment, cosleeping stuff is really just for, say, marsupials.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

        Even baby alligators.they squeak!

        • BeatriceC

          Alligators, baby or not, are some of the most beautiful and adorable animals in nature. Not as adorable as penguins, but close.

      • guest

        This reminds me of when my parents lived on the edge of a canyon and regularly got bear visitors. A couple of times, a bother bear brought her two cubs to their back yard, stashed them in a tree, and left. My parents’ backyard was her version of a nursery!

    • Roadstergal

      “No mammal separates from its newborn after birth ”

      Many rodents are so committed to not separating from their newborns that they eat them.

      • BeatriceC

        I’ve done a lot of foster care for cats, including pregnant cats, and have been around quite a number of dogs who have given birth. They clean up their babies, then settle down to sleep. Smothering offspring is a real risk. It happens more often than people think. Also, I’ve seen the look of relief on enough canine and feline mother’s faces when the litters are packed up and taken by a trusted human. They’re glad of the opportunity to rest as long as the human taking the offspring is somebody they trust. In the wild, they don’t get that opportunity, so they do what they have to do. It’s worth noting that the death rate among feral/stray cat/dog newborns is significantly higher than those born into homes with human caregivers.

      • MaineJen

        Or accidentally sit on them!

    • Sarah

      Rooming in is for all mothers, whether you bitches like it or not. I know best. There are ‘exceptions’ though, but nonetheless it’s still for every single woman. Hospitals accommodate that, except all the times when they don’t. And lastly, keeping everyone alive comes second to promoting relationships. Better dead than hatted.
      Sincerely, Nikkilee

      • Amazed

        Perhaps they think letting “hat” means letting “hate” on the poor baby? With the lack of educational standards running rampant between midwives and LC who aren’t medically educated people, can it be as simple as that?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I’ve wondered how all the anthropologist midwives can sit by and see this forced rooming in nonsense without objecting.

        OK, I haven’t really wondered, because I know why, but if anyone would appreciate the historical concept of assisting new mothers, it would be anthropologists.

    • Amazed

      So, let’s see… I feel pretty bonded to my 20-day-old niece. It started even before she was born, the night my brother called me and told me that we’re having a new addition… perhaps. Then, a few hours later, he called me again to tell me that we had her already. I couldn’t stop smiling. With each picture they sent me from the hospital, I felt pretty bonded, increasingly. When I first saw her in person, I felt that I could kill for her. Yesterday, my brother joked that I could skip work and go straight to the hospital since I spent the afternoon holding her and carrying her around (I was leaving that night, you know, and that was my goodbye for now.) and my arms and hands aren’t my strong suit anyway.

      I’m pretty good with kids. From babies to teens, they generally love me and I love them. Everyone told me that it would be vastly different and better with my niece and I didn’t quite believe them. Guess what? They were right.

      You think HER OWN MOM needs the relationship promoted by zealots like you when her aunt had no trouble bonding immediately? What’s wrong with you and your ilk? Is this the way to feel less useless? Preaching about a precious relationship whose importance only you can explain to them sheeple who simply don’t know? Are you such a failure as a LC that you need to grab a share in the relationship building market as well?

    • demodocus

      I didn’t bond with my child for a month, even with the obligatory rooming in. And i _hated_ nursing.

    • momofone

      So does this mean that when my husband stays at the hospital with me following non-childbirth-related surgery, that the hospital’s primary objective is fostering our love?

      • BeatriceC

        Must be why the hospital didn’t say anything when MrC climbed into my bed after my gallbladder surgery.

        Actually, the awesome older nurse said that they weren’t supposed to allow it, but we looked so cute and that was the first time since surgery my vitals looked halfway decent and I actually slept for more than 30 minutes, so they were looking the other way.

        • momofone

          You thought you were there for surgery, but you were clearly there for a relationship-encounter weekend!

      • Erin

        My Dad’s chemo nurse has been doing quite a bit of marriage guidance counselling recently.. well until I told her they’ve threatening divorce since the 5th September 1970, the day after they got married so clearly fostering love is on the agenda.

    • Azuran

      Rabbits are actually very unmaternal. They give birth, clean the babies, feed them once and then immediately leave the nest. She then only comes back 1-2 times per day to feed them.

      But really, it’s all about choice. If you want your baby with you 24/7, go for it. But who are you to impose your own preferences on me? Relationships are not make in the first 2-3 days of life.

    • Nick Sanders

      Humans are also self aware beings with their own needs and wants, and are capable of forming relationships even if not in constant 24/7 contact.

      Edit: I really should have read all the way through before responding, because of this:

      The biggest job hospitals have is to promote relationship

      Oh man, that’s just looney tunes! The biggest job hospitals have is to promote patient well-being! To say anything else is nuts!

      • Bombshellrisa

        Tell me about it, a hospital should never promote a relationship over patient well being. I have cared for enough people whose abusive or enabling partner/spouse/family member is with them to know that relationships can be harmful and deadly. I am not gonna be a part of promoting that (says the girl who has called security to have family/spouse/friends of patients escorted out because they refuse to leave on their own).

    • Bombshellrisa

      No other mammal uses doulas, inflatable pools in their living room or essential oils during birth. Those things must be wrong for humans too, according to your reasoning.

    • rh1985

      I bonded with my baby during the day, when I was awake. Being forced to have her in the room all night when I so desperately needed sleep to recover before we went home would not have made us bond any quicker. If anything, I think it would have made bonding harder – because I was able to rest at night, I felt more awake and alert during the daytime, when were together, instead of being an exhausted zombie.

    • guest

      “Rooming in” should not mean “restrict mom’s access to friends and family who can help with childcare in the same room as her and also force her to listen to a baby that cries nonstop when she needs to sleep because relationship.”

      But that’s what it does mean. Long live the optional hospital nursery!

    • momofone

      “Rooming-in is for all mothers, whether they want it or not.”

    • LibrarianSarah

      No mammal separates from its newborn after birth . . . except humans.

      So how many other mammal’s use the internet Nikki (okay maybe cats)? If you want to do what all other mammal’s do then you might want to start there. Also, beware of leaves of three when wiping.

      This is has been a mistake for the start of relationship. Mothers should go home with babies they know, and have learned about.

      Oh please. Look I’m not a mother and I’ll never be a mother but I’ve watched plenty of babies in my time in my time. You don’t “get to know” a newborn baby. You “take care of” a newborn baby. They don’t have interests or even real personality. All that shit takes time to develop. Getting is a continuous process, it does not cease when the kid is 2 days old.

      I didn’t “meet” my mom until 2 weeks after I was born. We talk multiple times a week and are very close. People aren’t sheep. We don’t abandon our young because they don’t smell like us.

      The biggest job hospitals have is to promote relationship, this is more important than breastfeeding.

      So all that “saving lives,” and “treating the sick and injured” is what? A perk?

    • Sarah Toenin

      Holy shit. No, a hospitals biggest job is to provide medical treatment and assistance. PERIOD THE END. A hospital has ZERO business ‘promoting relationships’ of any kind, any time, any where. This isn’t ‘Maternal MatchDotCom’. Jesus, let me guess.. Bernie supporter?

      • Who?

        It’s interesting that you claim to despise both the loss of choice you notice in the BFHI initiative, and ‘communism’, which you conflate with Bernie Sanders, who has self identified as a socialist, not a communist.

        Presuming you support the other side-that is, presuming you’re not one of the anti-government types who persists in driving on publicly funded roads (a group who do my head in with their total lack of self awareness)-how does the entire Republican approach to reproductive rights sit within your personal value set?

        • Sarah Toenin

          Socialism is the gateway to communism.

          I was once ‘for the other side’ but there isn’t enough difference between the two anymore. I’m for small government, strong military and a government that works for the people – not the other way around. I’m pro-life and while I don’t equate a 6 day old zygote with a full term fetus, I believe life begins at conception. If it grows, it’s ‘alive’. I’m not ‘all or nothing’, there are times when abortion is medically appropriate and I’m not talking about rape. Rape accounts for about 0% of all abortions, although marketed as if they’re half. I really don’t know what you mean by the ‘entire republican approach’, seeing as how you can abort at any gestation and force insurance companies / tax payers to pay for it. The Republicans are so strict they’ve done exactly zero to slow abortion or cap the gestation for them. Nevermind recycled baby parts for profit, a thriving industry whether people want to accept it or not. And while the entire abortion controversy has been sold as ‘a women’s right to choose’, it has nothing to do with women or rights. It’s about body parts for profit (the older the fetus the better) and it’s about ensuring certain demographics remain under a certain percentage of the population. ‘The Negro Project’ isn’t a myth and it’s founder was a eugenicist. So from that perspective, as long as abortion keeps the ‘undesirables’ under control, it’s here to stay. Murder or not, long as abortion remains profitable it is here to stay. Neither party really cares about women or their unborn, but the democratic party would prefer women abort 100% of the time.

          • Nick Sanders

            Nevermind recycled baby parts for profit, a thriving industry whether people want to accept it or not.

            Got any evidence for this claim?

            the democratic party would prefer women abort 100% of the time.

            And please explain why any political party would like to gut it’s own voter base.

          • Who?

            That went weird disturbingly quickly and easily, don’t you think?

          • Nick Sanders

            The very first post I saw from her was about communism and “muh freedoms”, so as far as I’m concerned, it was weird from the get-go.

          • Who?

            Wasn’t sure at first. Hearing people bang on about the evils of communism when they clearly have no understanding of what it is about is pretty usual. And who talks about ‘freedom’ more than some Americans? Though that usually doesn’t end well, it’s true.

            I’m blown away every time by the failure of understanding comprised in ‘small government and big military’. It’s like you stick someone you’d cross the street to avoid in a uniform and they become perfect and unassailable.

          • Nick Sanders

            I’ve spent way too much of my time hanging out on some politics forums, one of which went straight to hell when the moderators stopped enforcing the official policy of “extremism is always trolling” in favor of an unspoken one of “as long as it gets the site enough pageviews, it’s alright”, so I’m a bit more alert to the early warning signs of political crankism.

          • Who?

            Fair enough-we all have our own journey!

          • Sarah Toenin

            I understand the military is part of our government. The point I was trying to make is that I’m not ‘anti government’. Supporting a big military isn’t the same as supporting 175,000 worthless social programs

            I see now your questions were disingenuous. I don’t usually take the bait but my defenses were down. Obviously, can’t compete with your intellectual superiority so I’ll bow out after this.

            I came here after searching for something to help me make sense of what my niece was subjected to after giving birth – it wasn’t my intent to get into a political discussion. It just blew my mind she was forced skin to skin contact, refused a pacifier, forced counseling & had to have the baby with her the entire time. Communism wasn’t the right term to describe it – true – but policies like this never end. They become more restrictive and that always leads to (you pick the word).

            Have a wonderful, self righteous evening.

          • Who?

            Your niece had a terrible time. She should never have been treated that way, and there are many people in the same situation. It’s not acceptable and it shouldn’t be allowed to continue.

            If you don’t want a political conversation, don’t start one.

            My positions are entirely serious, and being angry at me for pointing out that you’re factually wrong, and lazy in your communication, is hardly reasonable.

          • Nick Sanders

            Actually, the social programs have a far better rate of return than the military.

            Best explanation I could find on short notice at 12:30 AM:
            http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_GMkD4mFrFxw/TH49Y6JmDoI/AAAAAAAAD1Q/SYY2OZaRMA4/s1600/Fiscal+multipliers+in+US.jpg

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Hey, Nick, kind of off topic and none of my business but your chart made me think and now I have a terrible curiosity that I have to satisfy…Are you any relation to Bernie? (Not that “Sanders” is necessarily your real last name any more than “nym” is mine.)

          • Who?

            Are you insinuating Nick is a socialist by association, or even worse that he has already collapsed off the abyss into communism? Oh the horror!!!

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Nah. Bernie Sanders is a bit right wing for my taste, but I wouldn’t blame Nick for that, even if they are related. I just have the attention span of a humming bird and the ability to ask impertinent questions via the net without getting slapped.

            Though I would note that socialist countries rarely, if ever, collapse into dictatorial communism whereas authoritarian right wing countries relatively frequently do. (Compare Scandinavia or Holland to Tsarist Russia or China before the revolution, for example.) Reform and mixed systems prevent radical takeovers. In short, vote Sanders to avoid the revolution.

          • Nick Sanders

            Very unlikely. He’s a Polish Jew, and to the best of my knowledge, I’m Scotch-Irish.

            And yeah, this is my real name. I used to be super paranoid about giving it out online, but a few years ago, I was trying to tell some conspiracy theorist or another what a nutjob they were, but doing that required me to register a disqus account. I decided that rather than keeping up with yet another username and password, I’d click the “join with facebook” button and say the hell with it.

          • Gatita

            I really appreciate your contributions here. You always add a lot to the discussion. And you have the stomach for engaging the nutbags which I absolutely can’t tolerate, so I’m grateful to the folks who can.

          • Nick Sanders

            Thank you, it’s always encouraging to hear I’m appreciated.

          • Box of Salt

            Sarah Toenin ” it wasn’t my intent to get into a “political discussion”

            Then why did you lead off with “It is absolute communism disguised as hospital policy”?

          • Who?

            Because to describe something as ‘communism’ was the most pejorative thing ST could think of.

            She could have said it was a cruel policy; that it was a policy that disrespected women (though considering she seems to think women get tricked into abortion, we might have to put a pin in that one); she could have said it endangers babies for absolutely no benefit. All those things would have been both descriptive and accurate.

            ST went for descriptive alone, and then cried ‘injured’ when the inaccuracy was pointed out.

          • Sarah Toenin

            The fact you’re asking for evidence tells me no matter what proof was presented your state of denial wouldn’t allow you to see it. It’s not exactly top secret information, or even being completely denied, or for that matter completely illegal. Got any evidence it’s not happening? Do you have stock in StemExpress?

            You mean the political party consisting mainly of rich, old white people? The goal isn’t complete ethnic cleansing, it’s about maintaining the status quo. Do you deny 80% of abortion mills are in minority neighborhoods? Or that black abortions occur at four times the rate of whites?

          • Box of Salt

            Sarah Toenin “Got any evidence it’s not happening?”

            Huh?

            That’s not normally how evidence works.

          • Nick Sanders

            What it should tell you is that I understand the burden of proof. You made the claim, you back it up.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof#Holder_of_the_burden

            And yes, I deny that any percentage of “abortion mills” are located anywhere, as such things don’t exist.

          • Sarah Toenin

            Planned Parenthood facilities. You know, the ones who perform about 350,000 abortions per year? But let’s pretend their services have something to do with ‘Parenthood’. Clearly the term used to describe the facility is what matters here.

            Obviously this is a pro-abortion hangout. It’s interesting to me that folks advocating abortion deny the existence of tissue & organ harvesting. Really, does it make it okay if it’s used for research as long as it’s not a direct sale? Is your concern over who profits? Do videos of PP physicians discussing how much money they get for intact organs peak your curiosity, or are you more concerned with the manner in how the videos were obtained? If a judge says the video can’t be used in court, do you pretend it doesn’t exist? Either way, this discussion is pointless. Carry on.

          • Box of Salt

            Sarah Toenin “Obviously this is a pro-abortion hangout.”

            How is that obvious? You’re the one who brought it up. The rest of us were discussing issues with eliminating well baby nurseries – remember your niece, and her horrible hospital experience? Or is the political discussion you didn’t mean to start more important to you?

          • Who?

            You’ve made a goose of yourself with language more than once already today-you shouldn’t be too quick to jump on your high horse about what things are called.

            And what is wrong with ‘pro-abortion’ anyway? You brought the subject up, we’re all talking about the care of much wanted children, not the termination of unwanted pregnancies.

          • Sarah Toenin

            Nothing is wrong with abortion if you’re pro abortion.

          • Who?

            Quite right.

          • Dr Kitty

            We could go with the AP style guide if you like, “anti abortion” and “pro abortion rights”. Which is accurate. One side is anti abortion and wants women to be unable to access legal abortions *whether or not women want them*, the other side wants women to have the right to access safe, legal abortion care *if the women wish to*.

            I wonder how Sarah Toenin feels about stand your ground laws?

            If she supports that, well, why can you kill an intruder who walks through an unlocked door into your home against your wishes, and yet not an intruder in your uterus?

          • Dr Kitty

            You mean the heavily edited videos, obtained criminally by an anti choice organisation with a stated agenda to make PP look as bad as possible?
            The videos that, after an extensive state investigation, led to criminal charges against the people who made them and no charges against PP?

            Personally, I think patients should have a right to dispose of fetal remains (including miscarriages) however they wish.
            Bury or cremate with or without a religious ceremony, incinerate as medical waste, donate for research, preserved in formaldehyde and kept in a jar on their mantlepiece or whatever they wish as long as it isn’t a health and safety risk.

            Most early miscarriages and medical abortions end up being flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash. At least feral tissue donated for research has the potential to do some good.

            Every investigation of PP to date has found no evidence of anyone selling anything. Recouping costs, yes. Selling, no.

          • Dr Kitty

            Oh, and the word is “pique”.

          • Roadstergal

            I have to say, ‘feral tissue’ is a magnificent typo in that context. 🙂

            I’ve worked with fetal tissue – we would get it from abortions, and we would get it from abortions AFTER the woman had already decided to have one (and if they consented – otherwise, it went in the biohazard bin). We didn’t pay a dime, because we were attached to the hospital and just had to walk down the hall and pick it up; for research labs that aren’t that lucky, it costs money to process and transport it, and the ~$100 that came up in the Infamous Videos is a goddam bargain for shipped human tissue. I pay more than that for matched blood and urine from living donors.

          • Dr Kitty

            My autocorrect didn’t like “fetal”.
            The one time I decide to use the American spelling, I caught it the first time and missed it the second. D’oh.

          • demodocus

            Eh, we’ll figure it out if you use the UK version. 🙂

          • Nick Sanders

            Planned Parenthood prevents far more abortions than it performs. They offer a wide range of services, from cancer and STD screenings, sex ed, and pregnancy testing, to birth control, vasectomies, and yes, abortions. However those 325,000 abortions are out of about ten and a half million total services performed. Please note I’m not just making up a number that sounds large, that’s the actual number of services rendered from 2013.

            As for the “harvesting”, it’s not only not a “direct sale”, it’s not a sale of any kind. Those videos were selectively edited to deliberately distort what was happening.
            http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/19/politics/planned-parenthood-videos/

          • Who?

            If you need to keep all the special knowledge to yourself, that’s fine. If you aren’t confident you can present it in a way that compels people to want to know more, perhaps you need to reflect on either how valuable/interesting it is, or whether your communication might benefit from moderating your tone.

            You can’t expect people whose good opinion is worth having to change their opinion just because you say so.

          • Azuran

            Did you maybe consider that poor people might have more accidental pregnancy? And since they don’t have the money to take care of a baby they might me more likely to have abortion?
            After all, the USA is not known for it’s great sex ed classes, nor is it known for it’s free healthcare or it’s numerous social programs to help poor women get easy/cheap access to contraceptive, or. Only a few months ago they tried to close Planned parenthood.

            I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure both parties are made of super rich old white dudes, so you are going to need to be more specific. But while one of them is indeed super pro-life, neither of them is trying to kill of their bases.

            Also, gingers are trying to take over the world by using genetically modified pre-natal vitamins made by mosanto to turn all your kids into gingers. Got any evidence it’s not happening?

          • Who?

            So all redheaded kids are the children of people who take too many supplements?

            Another piece of the puzzle falls into place!!!

          • demodocus

            Like the Doctor, I always wanted to be a ginger. Maybe I should OD on prenatals and see if #2 is one?

          • Azuran

            The f*** is all this. Yea sure, some dark company invented and pushes abortion on women and ‘pretended’ it was a matter of women’s right, and then they are trying to convince people to have abortions as late as possible to make more money off of baby part, while at the same time pushing a eugenic agenda. You lost it just as much as those anti-vaxxers and their ‘population control’ conspiracy theory.

          • Who?

            Pretty sure telling women how they are being fooled by having some right to have control over their fertility isn’t really forwarding any kind of rights agenda, except the rights of those who like to bloviate about their favourite consipracy du jour.

          • Sarah Toenin

            Nothing empowers women quite like the ‘right to choose’, because everyone knows women are incapable of making responsible decisions about family planning & prevention. In fact, they are so inept they need the entire duration of a pregnancy to decide whether or not they want to terminate it. Forward!

          • Who?

            Women are entirely capable of making good decisions for themselves across their life.

            Do you propose that every woman of childbearing age be on hormonal contraception, since, as we all know, not all sex is consensual.

            Have a look at this to learn about the different stages of pregnancy at which most terminations occur.
            https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/hey-rubio-an-obgyn-says-theres-no-such-thing-as-a-due-date-abortion/

          • Dr Kitty

            Really?
            The Nordic countries are Communist states?
            Interesting.

          • sdsures

            Noooo, they just have totes bizarre ideas about free post-secondary education and free health care. Funny, that. The “baby boxes” issued to all new parents look great.

          • MaineJen

            “Rape accounts for 0% of all abortions” “the democratic party would prefer women abort 100% of the time”

            aaaaaaand I’m out. It’s interesting to me that you’re all “stay out of our business, government!” until the business in question is the contents of another human being’s uterus. Then, individual autonomy is out the window, huh?

          • Gatita

            Woo hoo, it’s too early to read that level of crazy without my second cup of coffee.

          • Who?

            Government just small enough to squeeze into a woman’s uterus.

            And maintain a giant army.

            And roads to drive on.

            Not sure these people can always hear themselves speak.

            She did stick the flounce though, which is impressive.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            And maintain a giant army.

            For some reason, I initially read this as “maintain a giant robot army.” I then confused the issue further by visualizing in my head a single giant robot that could function as a country’s entire army.

            Yeah, some days even I wonder what’s going on in my head.

          • guest

            I’m getting an IUD soon. I’m going to refer to it as my giant robot army (an army of one). If it has been properly drilled, it will march around my uterus thinning its lining and putting an end to my periods once and for all. I hope.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            This comment is so perfect I’m contemplating signing into disqus just to like it.

          • guest

            Never sign into disqus. Never.

          • Charybdis

            Mirena or copper?

          • guest

            Mirena.

          • demodocus

            Too much scifi lately? 😉

          • LibrarianSarah

            People should have the right to choose! As long as their choices correspond with my personal and religious beliefs. The government should stay out of people’s lives! Unless those people are women. Anything else is COMMUNISM!

            The 1950s called. They want their boogieman back.

            [Does anyone else suspect that this lady is a poe]

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I still think she’s Sheriff Buford T. Justice.

            “Put the evidence in the car….”

          • Nick Sanders

            I’ve seen far too many people with the exact position that communism is defined as “anything I disagree with” to hold much hope that we’re being poe’d.

          • guest

            *Raises hand* Me, I’m suspecting real hard over here.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Socialism is the gateway to communism.

            Really?

            Can you provide a single example of a country that started out by switching to socialism and then switched to communism?

            Because if it really is a “gateway” you should be able to find a few examples. I’m only asking for one.

          • guest

            I think this one is another Brooke, basically. She actually believes PP is selling body parts, even after that has been thoroughly disproven. A lost cause, no functioning grey matter.

          • sdsures

            She’s giving me a migraine. Please, someone, put me out of my misery.

      • MaineJen

        See, I agree with you up to the point of “Bernie supporter.” ???

      • guest

        Oh honey. You are associating things blindly. I am horrified at the idea that it is a hospital’s first job is to foster relationship bonds…and I am a Bernie Supporter and a democratic socialist. *Gasp*, I know.

  • Anna

    Closing nurseries is not a solution it is just a plain bad idea.After the birth of my third baby boy by C section,I would have been physically unable to take good care of him during is first night in this world.Nothing deadly,but I was in too much physical pain to do so.A little bit of reason was all it took to decide that my baby would be in better hands at the nursery than with me for this very brief time.If a hospital doesn t have a nursery then it should have the obligation to allow a relative to stay with the mother and baby to help during the night otherwise it is dangerous and potentially detrimental to the health of both of them.

  • erosto

    While I do agree that hospital nurseries shouldn’t have to close (I breastfed both my babies and utilized the nursery), you seem to have a very hostile attitude toward breastfeeding and “lactivists.” It makes me believe you are working as a lobbyist for the formula industry. Do you have any financial affiliations to disclose?

    • Amazed

      Only an idiot can look at Dt Amy’s objective posts and see the opposition to exaggerating, aka lying about the actually existing but small benefits as having a very hostile attitude towards breastfeeding and the fucking lactivists, no quotation marks if you please. An idiot or a LC, or some other member of the breastfeeding industry.

      Are you an idiot or do you have any financial affiliations to disclose? And while we’re at it, what do you think about the very sensible suggestion a commmenter made at the page of the ridiculously biased Breastfeeding Medicine Academy – that if it’s fine to lie about the nonexisting illnesses formula feeding would give healthy, full term newborns because that will make breastfeeding rates go up, it should be fine to lie that the MMR prevents diabetes to increase vaccination rates?

      Oh but perhaps you aren’t just a breastfeeding industry shill but an anti-vax one? Do tell.

    • canaduck

      It’s really kind of telling that you literally can’t understand the idea of someone having a different opinion than yours unless they’re being paid for it.

    • Charybdis

      Why the hell would the formula industry need lobbyists? They sort of have a corner on the market, if you will. There are basically two options to feeding a baby: bottle and breast. If breast is not working, or is not working well enough, then formula is necessary. Of if the mother does not want to breastfeed, then formula is mandatory.

      No one here has a hostile attitude towards the actual act of breastfeeding. Many here have done it, some loved it, some tolerated it, some hated it, but kept at it, and some, like me, hated it and quit, switching to formula. It is the POLITICS and CONTROL the breastfeeding lactivist brigade try to enforce on everyone, across the board, that is the problem.

      Telling people to “keep at it! Breastfeed more, more, MORE” is the issue. Not listening to the mother and her wants, needs and concerns. Telling her lies and manipulating her mentally and emotionally is the issue. These are the things that draw our ire. Not the simple act of breastfeeding a baby.

      • erosto

        Your reply was the only one that made sense, and I thank you for that. No, I am not a lactation consultant, I have no stake in breastfeeding other than my own experience. I nursed two children and also supplemented with formula. Reading this blog, and more especially the extreme comments, has opened my eyes to a side of this issue that is quite disturbing to me. Some of these commenters try to say they’re not hostile and then go off cursing at me. OK then!

        • LibrarianSarah

          You do realize that insulting Dr. Amy’s integrity by insinuating that she is a paid shill of the formula industry is pretty hostile too right? That implying that Dr. Amy didn’t come by her opinions through her medical experience, as well as her experience as a women and mother but that she is only writing this because she was bought and sold by some formula industrial complex conspiracy to do…something is pretty shitty behavior?

          Did you also consider the fact that telling women with strong opinions that they “mean” or “bitchy” for expressing them openly and plainly has been a tactic used to silence us for…well pretty much forever? How often do male bloggers get that kind of criticism?

          Also, their have been so many trolls over the years that (many of which also start by showing “concern” for Amy’s “tone” and “question her financial ties”) that most of the regulars around her are rightly pretty defensive.

          TLDR don’t insult someone’s integrity without evidence, women shouldn’t have to “keep sweet” to be heard, lurk before commenting.

        • An Actual Attorney

          Who is cursing at you? There’s only one response to your post.

          • Amazed

            I think she means me. I wrote about Dr Amy’s attitude towards “fucking lactivists”. Erosto just recognized herself as one. You see, me saying “fucking lactivists” is very disturbing, Poor dears’ attitude to lifesaving formula and mothers who should or simply want to feed this way – no biggie!

            Kind of telling, don’t you think?

          • An Actual Attorney

            Yes, must be nice to lead a life that allows such thin skin.

        • Charybdis

          What, if you don’t me asking, do you find quite disturbing? Really, I’m interested, because there is soooooo much about the pro-breastfeeding side that I find disturbing. Mainly that it is not viewed as one of two good ways of feeding an infant, but as almost a religion.

          Like the way it is forced on women in the hospital when they have just delivered a baby. Closing nurseries, forcing women to room in with their newborn whether they want to or not, insisting that breastfeeding be initiated, mandatory skin-to-skin after delivery, being stingy with or outright refusing to provide formula for the mothers who need/request it, none of these things helps the breastfeeding cause.

          Do you (general you) really think that in this day and age, women haven’t heard the “Breast is Best” message? It is freaking EVERYWHERE; on formula containers, diapers (absorbs runny messes better in breastfed babies), magazines, billboards, commercials, books, pamphlets and handouts at the OB/Gyn’s office, posters, public service announce ments, blogs, websites, business cards, Facebook, YouTube, you name it. Believe me, you cannot get AWAY from the message that “Breast is Best!” Those of us who choose (yes, it IS a choice) otherwise and opt to use formula either exclusively or as a supplement do not need “more information”, “more education”, an appointment with an LC/IBCLC, reglan or domperidone, more oatmeal, endless cups of Mother’s Milk tea, lactation cookies, a nurse-in, nursing babymoon, whatever. We KNOW this stuff. We have chosen otherwise and it seems as if the fact that we have digested all the information out there and chosen formula is what drives the lactivist bonkers. OBVIOUSLY we need more information, education, preaching to and we will swich to breastfeeding

        • Who?

          Oh yes we’re very extreme here-‘Feed your baby in the way that suits you best. Ignore those who try to make you feel bad for not doing what they preach/do/sell.’

          It’s shocking, the extremism. My pearls are in a permanent state of clutchedness.

    • Sarah

      If it makes you believe that, work on your intellect. And meanwhile, you can tell us whether you have any financial affiliations to disclose too. Are you an LC perchance?

    • Nick Sanders

      I’ve been reading this blog for quite some time now, and not once have I seen Dr. Tuteur be hostile towards breastfeeding. What I have seen hostility towards is “breastfeed or you’ve failed” and “formula feeding is more harmful to a baby than going hungry”.

    • Bombshellrisa

      The formula industry would probably want someone who had used their product. Dr Amy has said more than once that she enjoyed breastfeeding her children and endorses breastfeeding.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      No.

  • Amy

    I’m in MA, too, and I’ve been disgusted by the discourse from my remaining “crunchy mama” friends on this issue. All of our kids are in the 5-10 age range, so well past breastfeeding age. Hospital policies on rooming in have literally no impact on their lives. It’s like, get a hobby! I don’t understand the compulsion to police other women’s feeding decisions. And these women are all pro-choice– and don’t see the irony here at all.

  • Brandy Burke Abarca

    On day 2 My husband and I were so tired we really could have used a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep.! I will surely ask if a couple hours in a nursey is an option next time ! I nearly feel asleep holding my baby in the hospital bed.

  • SarahSD

    I don’t know what I would have done if the nurses had not offered to take my baby the first night for a few hours so I could sleep, and if I had not had my husband with me the rest of the time. This was in a baby-friendly hospital, and these were workarounds that are not reliable or accessible to everyone. I was happy to have her with me, but I would not have been comfortable or safe left on my own for the first night when I still couldn’t move properly from the epidural and was so so tired. If they really think constant close mother-baby contact is so crucial for bonding, then they should be paying for more support and infrastructure to do that safely (for those who want to), not outsourcing the nursing work to exhausted, recovering, and drugged mothers and/or their families. I’m talking about support staff to avoid leaving moms who are out of their minds with exhaustion or anesthesia alone with their babies, and to help move baby between bassinet and mom’s arms, change babies etc. Essentially a postpartum doula for the hospital. Of course, this one-on-one support would likely cost more than a nursery, where at least one person can look after a number of babies at once.

  • YesYesNoNo

    My son was born at LIJ Katz in Queens, NY. This hospital is definitely trying to go “baby friendly.” Only 2 nurses showed me how to formula feed. I banned all LC’s from entering my room so I was patient non grata. I also had a CS. I tried to keep him in my room, but it was impossible. How am I supposed to change a dirty diaper with a catheter? My mom is a NICU nurse at another hospital and told me I’m nuts, send the baby to nursery and rest. I fear having another baby, my OB whom I love only delivers there. I also have no desire for a VBAC AT ALL. Looks like he is my first and last…

  • Toni35

    I tend to think the “good news” (and God I really hate using that phrase here) is that it shouldn’t take too many deaths, and subsequent lawsuits, for hospitals to decide it is in the *hospital’s* best interests to provide well baby nurseries to those mothers who want and/or need them.

  • Davidah

    I was born in Mt. Sinai hospital in 1969. My Mom said that she stayed in the hospital for a full week (after an uncomplicated vaginal birth), so she had time to rest and recover. She was breastfeeding (an unusual choice at the time) and she said that the nurses weighed me before and after feeding, so that she could be confident that I was getting enough milk and gaining weight. She said it was wonderful and made for an easy transition back home (where she had a 2 year old to care for). Of course, she was lucky to have family support to care for her older child while she was in the hospital. Those were the days, I guess . . .

    • Kelly

      That sounds amazing. I think that it should be protocol to weigh the baby after feedings in order to ensure they are getting fed and prove to women who are not making enough that they need to give formula.

    • Mariana

      I had to be in the hospital for 2 days after each birth (csection). Everyone raved at how lucky I was to rest for 2 days… Yeah… There were people in and out of my room the whole day and night, nurses, paediatrician, lactation consultant, a priest (he asked if I wanted to have communion), a pastor and a rabbi (I sent away the catholic priest and so I guess every other religious leader decided to visit…) oh, and a hearing specialist to test my baby’s hearing… I had forbidden visitors because I didn’t want a lot of people in and out of my room (I wanted to rest!)…

  • Francesca Violi

    to me it’s apparent that Baby Friendly policy is just a convenient way to cut on staff costs: externalise nursing tasks on the parents, and tell them it’s for their own sake. Next thing you know you will have to cook your own meals too, and be told the early multitasking training is good for new mothers and also provides the baby a better, home-like environment.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Well, you know, no one really likes hospital food, so surely everyone would be happy to bring or make their own. Right? Makes it more like a home birth and all. And pregnancy isn’t an illness, is it? No need to treat a pregnant or recently delivered woman like she was sick.

      It’s so much easier to drink the kool aid when doing so saves you money.

      • LaMont

        Gah in the “natural health” drinking game, every time someone says “pregnancy is not an illness” I feel the need to drink everything in my house. I’ve heard it from two not-particularly-wooish women who have children recently. Drives me batty. Driving a car isn’t an illness but its way-less-chance-of-killing-or-injuring-you-than-pregnancy/birth has led to laws regulating its safety…

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Sorry about triggering that! I hope it was clear I was being sarcastic? I have to say that for “not an illness” pregnancy was about the worst I’ve ever felt. At least, for long term problems. I’ve felt worse when I’ve had a temp of 103 from the flu, but that didn’t last 9 months.

          • LaMont

            Oh I know you were quoting them ironically, but even reminding me of it as a thing – thankfully I’m at work and not near the alcohol I have at home 🙂

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Oh, well, have a moderate amount of an enjoyable sort of alcohol (if you like alcohol) when you get home to make up for it all?

          • Amy M

            Yeah, it may not be an illness, but it’s certainly an atypical condition. Most people aren’t pregnant most of the time. It might be a normal biological function, but that doesn’t preclude it being dangerous.

        • FormerPhysicist

          Pregnancy may not be an illness, but pregnancy-related diabetes and pre-eclampsia sure were.

          • Bugsy

            …and my infertility, pre-term bleeding, pre-term contractions and fibroids during my first pregnancy also were. Funny, all of them disappeared as soon as my son was born.

          • Megan

            Funny, so did my gestational hypertension, which also resolved as soon as baby and placenta were out. My postpartum hemorrhage certainly felt like an illness too. I don’t think they transfused me just for giggles.

          • sdsures

            *shudder* I remember a blog post from an NCB mom, and she romanticised the HB, the transfer, the massive
            PPH, and the transfusions. The kid? An afterthought.

            Oy.

        • guest

          Being alive is not an illness, but I still like to have an annual physical to make sure I haven’t developed one.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        (Should add, It’s easy to drink the kool aid when doing so saves you money and puts someone else at risk.)

      • guest

        I definitely had visitors bring me real food at every opportunity while I was hospitalized during my pregnancy and after birth. But there were times when it was mealtime and I had no visitors!

      • Amy

        OMG, the food where I had my second was actually GOOD. Another mom who had her kids there and I ended up having a long conversation about how great the hospital was overall, and we were both like, even the food was good!

        I still did get family to bring me food. I lost a LOT of blood during the c-section, almost needed a transfusion, and I was having massive cravings for roast beef sandwiches and chocolate frappes. And thanks to my dad, I got both.

        • Nick Sanders

          When I had to have a liver biopsy, I actually quite liked the food I got during my overnight stay afterwards. I even got a little personal size pizza!

    • Roadstergal

      “Next thing you know you will have to cook your own meals too”

      As mentioned in earlier posts, they’re already denying food (locking up the formula) for the babies – mom provides it or nothing doing.

      • sdsures

        Isn;t that SOP for moms deciding on what they’re going to feed the kid with when they pack their hospital bag? Bring formula if you want, and if you plan to BF, bring it anyway in case BFing presents a problem. Logical.

        • An Actual Attorney

          Where are you located? Certainly never heard of it in the US.

          • sdsures

            The UK, but I grew up in Canada. A friend here recently had a baby, and she said she had to bring the stuff.

          • An Actual Attorney

            To state a tautology, I guess different systems are different. As far as I have ever heard, in the US, you just show up and diapers, formula, and a few shirts, and even the dreaded hat, all come from the hospital.

          • sdsures

            The UK’s RCOM is all about saving money. Whilst the NHS is the best medical system in the world, it also has a proclivity for saving money at the expense of (some) people’s health.

          • momofone

            This is how it worked for me (in the US). We were sent home with formula despite our insistence that we didn’t want it. (This was almost nine years ago.) We were also supplied with diapers, but this post made me realize we didn’t get a hat. 🙁

          • An Actual Attorney

            Thank the goddess you avoided the hat!

          • guest

            I’m in the US, and there were definitely no shirts at my hospital until, oddly, the day of discharge, when I got two overlarge baby t-shirts with the hospital logo. Definitely not for wearing days after birth. Hats were provided in the NICU, but oddly tended to be trashed when they did linen changes. I managed to snag and save one for sentimental reasons.

            Formula was always on hand in the NICU; each baby had its own supply in a drawer, even if mom was providing breast milk. Diapers, ditto – oddly enough, not preemie sized diapers, but size 1. I switched them down a size when we got home. I ended up with more pacifiers than babies from the hospital, as well as a fairly generous supply of flanges, tubing, and bottles to pump into. Blankets were provided and I was allowed to keep on of those, plus scissors, a thermometer, packets of lubricating gel, diaper rash cream, a plastic measuring thingy useful for warming bottles that I now use to water plants, some sort of weird beanbag used to hold babies in place in incubators, medical tape, bandages…I guess when a baby leave the NICU they have to discard all the supplies in its drawer, so I got a whole lot of free stuff I wasn’t expecting.

            Just not shirts. 🙂

        • Roadstergal

          But as mentioned before, the baby and mom are both patients. Don’t they both get food?

          KotB’s comment above shows the ‘logical’ next step.

        • Amy

          It wasn’t when my kids were born. Hospital provided ready-made- formula for those who formula fed, LC visits for those who requested them, nipple shields, breast pads, lanolin, and even “prescriptions” for hospital-grade pumps so that the woman’s insurance would cover the cost. With my first there were physical issues getting in the way of successful latching, and that rendered me eligible for a year’s rental of an Ameda Egnell (I think?) Elite, the top-end hospital-grade pump, fully covered. With my second, SHE had breathing issues, and the on-duty docs were able to get a Medela PISA fully covered for me. But both times, as much formula as I might have needed was readily available, and I got sent home with goodie bags. I donated the powdered formula to women’s shelters, and I gave the coupons to friends of mine who formula fed. Win-win-win as far as I’m concerned.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      There have been reports from the UK that non-breastfeeding moms aren’t getting hospital meals in some places specifically because they aren’t breastfeeding.

      • Bombshellrisa

        When my son stayed an extra night and I was discharged, I was given vouchers for hospital meals because they considered me “his food source”.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Good for them! 🙂

      • Joy

        I think that only applies if the baby goes back into the hospital, not after the birth. It still isn’t right though.

      • Mariana

        The food at the hospitals where I gave birth was SO bad I would gladly have told them not to bring it to me. But we could not have outside food, so it was either that or starve. The food was so bad I was served a mystery white meat (shredded) and could not figure out if it was fish or chicken… I asked… It was pork! And one dinner had pumpkin purée, steamed pumpkin as a salad and pumpkin sweet for desert (no kidding). They were very obsessed about me having a bolwel movement after the csection and would only let me go home after that… Yet they fed me nothing but these crazy lunches, white crackers and black tea… Not really helpful…

  • BeatriceC

    OT Bird Update: Leopold the Senegal has officially joined my family (flock?). Here he is helping me read the blog.

    http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn67/mmsw1/Mobile%20Uploads/1454999059_zpsd0d1wssw.jpg

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Whoooooooo’s a handsome boy then?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Yay! Congratulations on your new birdie.

    • Madtowngirl

      What a beautiful guy!

    • Gatita

      Cutie pie! Lucky you.

  • Margo Townsend

    Forty odd years ago when I had my first child second and third we had nurseries, where babies were cared for and brought to mums when they needed feeding, I must confess that I do not think it interfered with the bonding process. As a midwife now I have often taken a baby upon request out of a rooming in room to give the mother a chance to sleep. Even a small sleep can do wonders, especially post Caesar or long labour. I think rooming in can be wonderful but so often is not, especially if a new mum is sharing a room with three other women and their babies, it truly becomes a hellish experience for all concerned and often results in women going home exhausted and sad. Why on earth is it deemed reasonable to put women through the torture of sleep deprivation in the very place where women should expect care and nurturing. And don’t get me started on co sleeping and the dangers around that.

    • Ceridwen

      My first labor was long (more than 40 hours) and I had a PPH leading to it taking 8 hours between when I had my daughter and when I was able to get up from bed without passing out. By then it was 9pm and I was facing a 4th night in a row with little sleep. My husband was also exhausted and there were no other family members available because we live thousands of miles from them and had opted to wait for labor to start naturally rather than scheduling something so that someone could come be there with us. Futhermore, we were the first among our local friends to have children, so there wasn’t even a friend with newborn experience we could call on to come help us. You better believe we took advantage of the nurses offering to take the baby overnight. They brought her back and did vitals on me while I nursed her whenever she got hungry and I got a lot of rest and felt great by the time I went home.

      Fast forward to the second kid and I had a very straightforward elective induction at 39+3. Labor was only 5.5 hours from the time they started pitocin. But our arrangements to have family there had fallen through at the last minute. My husband needed to go home to be with our toddler, and I knew I would need my strength to be able to be mom to both kids once I got home, so yep, baby went with the nurses again, and I got as much sleep as I could before heading home. Once again I had a much better recovery than I would have expected based on stories from other women with similar tears and such. I can’t help but think that the chance I got to actually *recover* while in the hospital really helped with that.

      Breastfeeding went flawlessly with both kids btw. I nursed the first until 14 months (with formula supplementation starting at 9 months when I decided I was not willing to pump at work any longer) and the second is 4.5 months old currently and I’ve got so much extra milk that I’m currently going through the application process to be able to donate 400 oz or so to a milk bank.

      God forbid we let women make choices about these things or acknowledge that some women may prioritize certain things above breastfeeding for perfectly valid reasons. As someone who was returning to work very quickly after having my children there were, quite frankly, other things that were more important. Breastfeeding was great if it was going to work out but I’d already decided I need to prioritize other things above that. I’m a full grown woman and should be allowed to make that choice. Especially when I’m paying through the nose to be cared for and have my baby cared for while we’re in the hospital.

    • Kelly

      I got eight house of solid sleep the second night in the hospital with my third. Guess what? She prefers me more than anyone else. I don’t think it hurt her. Oh yeah, she is also formula fed. I am so sick of people telling new mothers that the baby will not bond unless they are with them 24/7.

  • Gretta

    This is so sad and ridiculous. After my c-section, I was exhausted and hurting and healing. I needed help. I needed rest. I nursed my son and fell asleep holding him! What if I had dropped him? The nurses who came and whisked away my son for a few hours to the nursery were a blessing!

    • Brandy Burke Abarca

      I came really close myself.. I was so tired I was noddiing off when my OB GYN came in to check on me. I thank God for his timing.

  • Gatita
    • Megan

      That is fascinating. The superstitions surrounding birth were interesting too.

      • Gatita

        Yes about the superstitions. The Japanese prohibitions around water struck me as particularly weird.

        • Roadstergal

          Okay, any “Eastern mysticism” mamas need to avoid waterbirths. :p

          It sounds like a marvelous little backroom ‘enforced rest time’ for the mother after the delivery. No housework, no cooking, no cleaning for about a month.

          • Megan

            Sounds lovely, except I would think “no shower” would be part of it too? That I would mind…

          • Angharad

            It didn’t mention, but the only thing I could think was “I wonder if that applies to showers?” Hopefully it’s just a prohibition on housework, not on bathing!

  • Mad Hatter

    I suppose I could have used the nursery. The hospital had one. It wasn’t offered, probably because I wanted a natural birth, and thought I wanted to have my baby room in. Now, I can see how a few hours would have been helpful. I was exhausted after being up for 40 hours and 2 hours of pushing. Had all kinds of people in the waiting room and 2 friends, my mom, and my husband in the delivery room with me. But once it was over, they all left. My husband crashed and slept for 6 hours. (no blame, he needed to sleep too) Next baby, I’m telling people to stay home and stay rested. They can come help care for the baby in shifts afterwards. Its stupid to sit in a waiting room doing nothing for 24 hours and then leave when I really could have used someone to help with my baby between feedings. Of course, I am definitely asking about using the nursery too. Hope its an option!

  • crazy grad mama

    I gave birth at a hospital with no nursery. Going in, I bought all the hype about how wonderful that was, both from all the stuff I’d read about breastfeeding and from my mom, who made a big deal about how she’d insisted on rooming-in with my little brother back when that wasn’t standard. It wasn’t awful, mostly because my husband slept over in the tiny pullout guest bed, but in retrospect it wasn’t the great thing it had been sold as. I had a CS, so I couldn’t lift my baby out of his bassinet (which is of course at a super-awkward height). I barely slept, because I woke myself up every 20 minutes to check that my little guy was still breathing. A nursery option would’ve been better.

  • BeatriceC

    I’ve been thinking about this all day. I have a challenge for the “baby friendly” people: Find me one example of any culture, any time in history, in any place in the world where new parents (including the fathers here on account of some of the stories told earlier) were isolated from their communities, female relatives/friends, and expected to sink or swim without any outside support.

    • Amy M

      There was that one story in a Jared Diamond book, I can’t remember which culture, maybe one in Papua New Guinea? The woman was left by herself to give birth—however, I think that if both mother and baby survived that, then the community would be supportive post-partum.

    • brooklinepaula

      The “Baby Friendly people” are the World Health Organization. This is a worldwide initiative. No one is isolating the childbearing couple from their communities. Have your mother, sister, friend come and help you. The nurses are there to do infant care teaching, no one is saying “sink or swim” Patients are sent home with resource lists and follow-up pediatric appointments and phone numbers to call with questions. That being said, as a postpartum/newborn nurse for more than 35 years, nurses know this is not “baby friendly” and that it is a BAD idea.

      • AllieFoyle

        “Have your mother, sister, friend come and help you.”

        You take for granted that every woman has this option. I don’t have a mother or sister to help me, and we had just moved when my youngest was born. And I worked with numerous people in difficult situations with little support — we don’t all have the same resources. Hospitals have a responsibility to keep mothers and babies safe and healthy while they are patients. Period.

      • momofone

        So if my mother has died, I don’t have a sister, and my friend is already caring for my other children, what should I do?

      • Joy

        I live in the UK. The spouse can come in from 9-9, but other guests are only allowed in from like 2-5pm and you have a very small curtained area in a room with four other mothers and their babies. And no, you aren’t sent home with appointments. Just because that is how it works in your part of the US doesn’t mean that is how it works in other places. And no, the midwives couldn’t be bothered to pick up my baby while I went to the bathroom at 3am while she screamed the room awake, and they sure weren’t giving any infant care teaching. At all.

  • Froggggggg

    I had my first child nearly 15 years ago in Sydney, Australia, at one of the busiest hospitals in the country. There was no nursery even back then, and I’m still looking back on it in disbelief, because they didn’t just have all the straight forward births there… they had the high risk, difficult ones where mothers were unwell both before and after delivery. I know I was (emergency c/s, PPH), and I got almost no rest. It was OK during the day as I usually had my partner with me, but terrible at night. There was one lovely nurse who took my son to the nurses’ station for a few hours (even though they weren’t supposed to do that), but on the other nights, it was a struggle and it took me ages to just get out of bed to attend to my screaming baby… how is that baby friendly!? There was also nowhere to put your baby while you were having a shower, so I remember having to go off and shower while I had visitors who could look after him for 15 minutes or so. In hindsight, that also strikes me as insane – surely not everyone has visitors all the time, surely babies were left unattended and at risk.

    I remember catching up on some much needed sleep during the day while my partner took our son for a walk around the hospital. I was told off by a nurse for sleeping during the day!

    It was all just insane and so much could have gone wrong.

    My second child was born at a small country hospital. It was run down and everything, but it felt like a luxury palace because they had a nursery! They even insisted on taking her the first night after my c-section!!! You could bring the baby there whenever you needed a shower or a rest or weren’t feeling well, and no one gave you attitude. It was so nice.

    • Megan

      “I remember catching up on some much needed sleep during the day while my partner took our son for a walk around the hospital. I was told off by a nurse for sleeping during the day!”

      What do they think we do once we get home in order to get some rest? These people are crazy! Moms are humans who need sleep in order to function. Leaving baby with your partner while you nap (or take a shower or go to the doctor or whatever) is a totally normal occurrence!

      • rh1985

        While it’s not the sole reason, the fact that I wouldn’t be able to “sleep while the baby sleeps” was a factor in my decision to most likely not have anymore children. I really don’t function well while sleep deprived, and since I have a sleep disorder and it takes me longer to fall asleep to begin with, that made it harder. I basically won the lottery and had a baby that was a really good sleeper. Why tempt fate again?

        Maybe if I won the lottery and could afford a night nanny…

  • Liz Leyden

    I first heard about L&D units without nurseries about 10 years ago, from a friend who had a baby at a Navy hospital. She was so stressed out and sleep deprived that she begged to go home after 36 hours. At least she had help with the baby at home.

    I’m very grateful that BWH had a well-baby nursery when I had my babies. I had to be MedEvaced, and my husband, who does not drive, arrived 3 hours after my twins were born, when I was still doped out of my mind. Since I had 2 babies at 2 hospitals, it was also nice to be able to leave my son in the nursery when my daughter went for her open-heart surgery. I had to ask them to leave my son in the room overnight on my last night.
    When I was hospitalized 10 days postpartum with pre-eclampsia, my family brought my son to visit, and the nurses warned me about trying to care for him on a magnesium drip.

    What other patients are expected to care for an infant an hour after a major medical event?

    • Elizabeth A

      When my daughter was born at BIDMC 6(!) years ago, I was under the impression that they had a well baby nursery – I think I even walked past it a few times – but that many families opted not to use it. When I remember what the first 12 hours after my c-section were like, I’m almost glad my daughter was in the NICU during that time (I was very glad she was receiving such excellent care, but deeply distraught that she needed it). I was by no means capable of caring for her at that point, and wouldn’t have been even if she’d been an uncomplicated full-termer.

      I find I am also annoyed by rhetorical efforts to insist that women somehow don’t need recovery time after uncomplicated vaginal deliveries. Labor is a serious cardiovascular effort, and even if it goes very well, it’s exhausting. I didn’t expect my ex to walk down stairs the day after he ran a marathon, and no one should expect a new mom to bounce out of bed and get to work in the fields as soon as she expels the placenta. Yes, there are stories of women doing just that – mostly told by colonialist invaders interested in advertising the natives as a low-cost, highly durable labor force requiring minimal care and feeding. No one tells the story of the women who tries to go back out in the field as soon as the baby is born, and collapses halfway there.

      • guest

        I agree about even mother’s with straight forward deliveries needing rest. Both of mine were relatively uncomplicated, but I was still sore and tired (and needed time to myself to process events.) I sent both to the nursery at night and sent my husband home so I could rest. I knew I was being charged a separate room fee for my children so I figured that meant they were patient’s too and deserved the same level as care and attention from nursing staff as I did. Also, both of my children went through an adjustment period where they would only sleep when held and had to be trained to sleep in the bassinet. I’m guessing this is not uncommon in newborns?? At home, my husband and I took turns with them until they learned to sleep longer on their own. I hate the idea that mother’s should sacrifice for the good of her children.

  • Megan

    What would be interesting would be to contest the portion of your hospital bill for nursing services. Wonder if there is a case to be made there? In the US, even with insurance, most women receive a bill for thousands of dollars for a delivery.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      That’s downright evil, and I like it!

      • WowWow777

        Right, because if there is no newborn nursery, that means that the mother and the baby received no nursing care? Are you out of your mind?

        • Who?

          What is ‘nursing care’? For baby-checking observations, certainly. Washing, changing nappies, giving advice on those things? Feeding or support with feeding?

          For mum-checking observations, certainly. Helping with/attending to self care, changing pyjamas and bed linen as required? Feeding help or guidance?

          In short, making sure both are safe and comfortable, and appropriately medicated.

          Because it is those latter things for both mothers and babies that aren’t happening, according to the experiences of many here.

          My daughter, the night after orthopaedic surgery, was left in her own vomit, and left to take herself to the toilet when she could barely stand. That was a failure of nursing, as the hospital conceded when asked about what had happened. They had insufficient night staff to manage how many people were unwell, as opposed to flaked out after surgery, that night.

          It’s not clear why the same standard shouldn’t apply to a mother and baby.

          I’m a former lawyer, would never suggest suing anyone, but I would be
          asking lots of questions about what the scope of ‘nursing’ was.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Contest every dime? Not necessarily. But the fact is that after the first day PP (I was there for 4) I saw my nurse a) at shift change, when she’d stop by to introduce herself, b) if I paged for medications, and c) if I called for help. In c)’s case, I never really got much help: she’d poke her head in the door, I’d tearfully say that baby hadn’t stopped screaming in hours and refused to latch, she’d tell me to figure it out/that was normal/whatever and leave.
          That’s just not worth the 10-15K of nursing care that was listed on my bill. Not in any universe.
          I didn’t shower for three days because I didn’t have anyone to leave baby with, and the nurses indicated I shouldn’t leave her in my room in a bassinet while I took a shower in the attached bathroom. Oh, they’d tell me at shift change that I needed to shower, in a tone of voice that suggested I was gross for not doing so, but not how I was supposed to given that I had no one who could hold her while I did, and they never offered. (First time mom, didn’t know I could ask…they’d probably have said no anyway.)
          I didn’t get any information about how to mix the formula I was supplementing or how much she should eat.
          There was one lovely nurse who did try her hardest, but she was set up against the others.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Also: no help in getting to the bathroom. I couldn’t get out of bed while holding DD, but I had her in bed with me because I couldn’t get her in/out of the bassinet: it was too high and the wheels didn’t lock. I still remember the total panic I felt the first time I had to get out of bed to pee after my catheter was taken out, and had to page someone to come take DD from me so I could get out of bed. I went from “don’t have to pee” to “very painful need to pee THIS SECOND” in a matter of a minute, which isn’t uncommon in patients who have been cathed. After waiting for several minutes and not getting help, I set DD on the edge of the bed, only kicked her once (gently, but…) while using my hands to lift my legs over the side of the bed, put her in the bassinet, and staggered to the bathroom, where I had a hard time going in part because of the cath and partly because DD was screaming hysterically, so massive pressure to go RIGHT THEN…when I couldn’t.
          *I*, an immediately PP, post-op mom on pain meds and no sleep, was expected to chart my baby’s intake and output for them, and got sniffy attitudes when I couldn’t remember how much or how long DD had nursed at night, because “all I had to do was write it down!” On a chart I couldn’t reach while holding a baby and figuring out nursing…
          Now, the techs were worth every dime we paid for them. They’d get me water, they helped (if they were in the room) change DD, they’d get me snacks, and one of them in particular, when I finally took my shower, had both DD and the bed linens changed, the bed and pillows fluffed up, and my water refilled by the time I got out, so all I had to do was hop into bed and nurse DD. *That* was heaven! Actual nursing care, though (help with breastfeeding, honest weight information on DD, etc) was limited, and the techs were so busy they couldn’t be there all the time.

        • Charybdis

          Are you out of yours? Nursing care involves CARE, and shaming, browbeating, humiliating and otherwise pressuring an exhausted mother to exclusively breastfeed, handle her newborn totally by herself and berate her if she does not have a “support person” that can stay with her 24/7 until she and the baby are discharged does NOT fall into the realm of “care”.

          Respite care (see, it’s even in the term) is just that . A break for the new mother so that she can get a good nap and shower, so she feels both mentally and physically better so that she can better attend the new baby is a relief and badly needed by so many women. Having a place to send the baby so they will be watched, warmed, changed and possibly even fed while the mom takes a break for herself is NOT, and I repeat NOT a bad thing, nor does it interfere with bonding.

          Plus, the nursery is staffed by professionals, who see and deal with babies every day. A new mother, however, is often brand new to the realm of baby care, as they are having their first child and may not have had much, if any, previous experience caring for a newborn. So yeah, they need all the help they can get; even women who have already had children and therefore already know the ropes can need support and respite care, especially if the new dad has to go home to take care of other children.

        • Megan

          Well, certainly at least the baby’s nursing bill should be decreased if all they’re doing is vitals and the routine newborn testing and no other care for baby, right? I mean, certainly the hospital will lower the cost billed to the patient/patient’s insurance when they implement this and cut their staff costs at the expense of baby care, right? Sure…
          My experience with nursing care was similar to KOTB’s with my first child. My stay was a total of a week for an induction and eventual CS (and my husband was awake with me supporting me that entire time too). I had one lovely night nurse who suggested that I let them take our daughter for a few hours so hubby and I could get some rest. That 3 hours was the only rest I got the entire week aside from a few catnaps while hubby held baby. This is after a 4 day induction, postpartum hemorrhage requiring a blood transfusion and CS. Have you experienced the pain after CS, particularly after a CS and a TOL? You literally cannot get out of bed, let alone change a diaper. The bassinets provided are at a height that you cannot get baby in and out of it while you are in bed. You cannot laugh, cough or move without significant pain.
          Would you suggest that any other post-op patient have a newborn to take care of? That’s not only inhumane but dangerous considering the pain meds most post-CS moms are on (and some moms who’ve delivered vaginally and have tears). I’ve never had a vaginal delivery but I have heard that the first 24 hours after that are no walk in the park either. In what world would we ever consider giving a patient who just had a medical procedure a newborn infant to care for by themselves??
          This is obviously a cost-cutting measure for hospitals and the cost savings will most certainly not be passed along to patients. I think contesting charges is certainly a way for these concerns to be heard. Otherwise things will not change.

          • Megan

            And let me add that they even expect moms to do a portion of the baby’s vitals for them: the I&O’s.

          • brooklinepaula

            There is no cost cutting, there are the same number of nurses on the unit. Instead of having 4 mothers with a nursery as an assignment, now the nurse has 3 mother-baby couplets, and no nursery. Newborns are not counted in the census as patients and never have been. Insurance companies are billed for “postpartum care” at a flat rate for vaginal births and a different flat rate for C-sections.

          • Megan

            Newborns are billed under mom’s insurance but are definitely registered as patients. Hence the admission and discharge, regular visits from pediatrician, routine newborn testing, etc. They are listed on the patient census also; that’s how I know what patients I have to round on. They are lumped on mom’s bill because they have not been formally added to the family’s insurance yet, but they are definitely registered in the hospital as patients; otherwise we could not provide them with any medical care at all. In our hospital, there are not enough nurses to care for all of the patients. I am not the only one who has written their ancedota about how little help you get (and I’ve not only experienced it at my hospital myself but seen it for my patients too) and it’s because nurses are assigned too many patients.

          • Toni35

            I had a separate copay for baby’s hospitalization this time around (2015). That was new. With all my other children one hospital copay ($150) covered both mom and baby. Now there are two copays ($175 each) – one for each patient. So much for a “free” breast pump. I would have rather paid $40 for a cheap pump (enough to suit my needs) and pocketed the $175 copay for the baby…. So yeah, baby isn’t lumped in with mom’s bill anymore 🙁

  • Jules B

    Long time reader, first time commentator! I have read a number of the articles here regarding baby friendly hospitals and I find it interesting, because as a Canadian…at least where I am in Canada (the west coast)…the idea of sending a baby to a nursery seems old-fashioned. (In an envy-inducing way, though.) I don’t know any women who has given birth in a hospital with a nursery, even women who had their kids 10-15 years ago. It is just a given that it’s your baby, you are responsible, full stop. Not saying that is a good thing! Just saying that I read these comments from folks who could actually REST after giving birth because they had a nursery available, and I am so jealous! If I had had that, ironically I think breast feeding might have worked *better* for me, since a lot of my supply issues were genuinely due to exhaustion. (And a jaundiced, reflux baby, but the tiredness hit my milk supply very hard.) So yeah, nurseries sound like a goddess-send to me.

  • SL27

    My mom works at a “baby friendly” hospital, and readily admits that baby friendly is not mom friendly. (She doesn’t work in labor and delivery, but is still well aware of it.)

    I am so grateful I had a nursery to send my baby to when I wanted to try and sleep in the hospital for both of my babies’ births. The nurses simply brought the baby in when she was hungry.

    Of course, there was still a little woo that crept in, in that when my second daughter wasn’t latching and was screaming because she was too hungry, the nurse asked if I wanted to do skin to skin to calm her down. Um no, I want her to eat so that she will calm down. I was glad she was finally taken to the nursery for formula (and baby girl has nursed well ever since that night when she got over being too hungry to latch).

    I also miss that they didn’t send us home with a sample of formula like they did with my first daughter.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Of course it’s not mom friendly, but someone needs to explain how no nursery is actually baby friendly in the first place.

      • Roadstergal

        It’s like what my husband said when he saw a billboard advertising a local ‘baby friendly’ hospital – “What, do they slap the babies around at the other hospitals??”

        Giving someone a place to sleep and some care (nursery) seems the definition of friendliness.

  • BeatriceC

    I am reminded of one of my students. Now, keep in mind I taught 7th grade. My students weren’t exactly adults. However, I taught in a very, very poor neighborhood and sadly teen pregnancies, even among 13 year olds. One of my last years in the classroom we had a 14 year old 7th grader pregnant with her second child. In her community it was unheard of to give up babies for adoption. She was on her own. She did have her grandmother with her at the delivery, but she delivered in a hospital that had already gotten rid of their well baby nursery even when I was having my own kids, some years before (this was not an issue for me, as my kids all went straight to NICU). This poor girl got no rest. When she came back to school she immediately asked to see the counselor because she was afraid of some of her thoughts when she was in the hospital, but she didn’t trust anybody else to talk about them. The staff at the hospital repeatedly shamed her for being such a young mother, then shamed her for her choice to formula feed, one even going so far as to tell her she shouldn’t be allowed to use formula because she was just a drain on society, and society shouldn’t have to pay for her formula. She should give us all a break and breastfeed the baby or give the baby to somebody who deserved one.

    The rest of the faculty and I sprang into action. My principal looked the other way when she brought both kids to school (I taught many, many lessons with a baby on my hip, as did most of my colleagues). One of my colleagues took her to her own OB/GYN and paid out of pocket for her to get on birth control so she could have the best chance of finishing school. She did finish. It was only by the effort of a huge number of adults, but we got her through middle school and then into a high school for mothers, and last I knew, she’d graduated from a two year college. None of that would have happened if she’d given into her thoughts as a result of the treatment received by the hospital staff.

    • demodocus

      Oh bless you guys and good for her. I hope she and her kids are doing well.

      • BeatriceC

        My colleagues get most of the credit. I just pitched in when asked. Besides, calculating the trajectory of baby puke makes a fun math lesson.

        • sdsures

          “Besides, calculating the trajectory of baby puke makes a fun math lesson.”

          I heard from my sister that my nephew had quite the trajectory of spurting urine when getting changed. LOL

    • Roadstergal

      It’s wonderful that you took care of her like that, and horrid that the hospital didn’t.

    • I sing to Andy

      This is such an amazing story. Shame on that hospital and God bless YOU!

    • Gatita

      Bless you and your colleagues. This brought tears to my eyes.

    • Jenny

      I want to stand up and clap.

  • I’ve said this a half dozen times on this article in various forms, but I appreciated having the choice between rooming in and out.

    With both of my deliveries, I opted to have them taken to the nursery the first night so I could rest. They were still brought in to nurse when they needed to, and my younger child I actually kept after he was brought into the nurse the first time because I felt so much better after that delivery than my first.

    My first delivery, I was a 19 year old single mother. There was no one there to watch my baby, and I was exhausted. My mother was at the delivery with me, but was also exhausted, and went home to rest. My second delivery, my spouse was there and that was one reason I felt safer keeping my second son with us. With both deliveries, I opted to room in the second night, because a) I had someone there with me, and b) I was rested and responsive.

    The choice was valuable to me, and I was so glad my OB supported my decision and made it clear that my recovery was also important.

    For many women who lack paid parental leave, those nights in the hospital when their babies are safe with caring health professionals are the only rest they are going to get. They are going to be back to work too quickly, and may have little or no support. They should absolutely have the option to choose between rooming in or out. Not giving them that choice is just…I don’t even have words for it, honestly.

  • ArmyChick

    My daughter was born at St Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston. I had a C-section after 3 days of labor and I could barely stand up. I was very happy they had a nursery! I tried changing the baby’s diaper once but my legs almost gave out due to pain. I had to call the nurse immediately to take my newborn back to the nursery to have that done. My daughter’s father was only at the hospital on and off and I was all alone.
    Oh, and I had made the decision to formula feed even before she was born. No amount of rooming in and “educating” by lactivists was going to change that.

  • Allie P

    FLAMES… ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE… HEAVING…. BREATHLESS.

    Nothing gets my guff up like this “baby friendly hospital” crapola. I had babies four years apart. Same doctor, same hospital, same relatively uncomplicated inducted, epiduraled, swift, vaginal birth. The difference was the second time, the hospital was “baby friendly”, which amounted to:

    1) They no longer wash the baby
    2) They no longer bulb/suck the baby’s airways at birth, leading to my baby choking and coughing up fluid the entire first night of her life (because it was such a quick birth), until I begged them to come take her and keep her in the nurse’s station for an hour or two because every time she coughed and choked I freaked out and could not sleep.
    3) Posters on every wall in every room extolling the virtues of breastfeeding, including post maternity “weight loss”
    4) I was yelled at and woken up in the middle of the night because I had failed to fill out the complicated feeding/changing chart that they kept on a table across the room when me, the baby, and the baby’s father were all soundly asleep.
    5) Me falling asleep, TWICE, with the baby in bed with me.
    6) Going to a private nursing session with a LC in the private, behind security doors mother/baby lounge, where I was yelled at for the way I was holding the baby (cradle hold) while nursing, and shamed for nursing “in public” (again, private mother baby lounge), while the LC’s advice to a several immigrant and minority first time moms amounted to nothing more than to “just keep going!” when they complained about a variety of problems ranging from post surgical pain to inverted nipples. But, sure, lady, me nursing my second baby in the hold that works best for me and my first baby (and is still working fine for my second baby, seven months on) is problematic. Also, it’s literally the only time in my life that someone questioned me nursing my baby “in public” and I’ve nursed at museums, restaurants, airports, libraries, national monuments…

    How friendly are they? Orwellian.

    • lilin

      I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. I’m starting to think that part of a “going to the hospital pack” should include an iPhone or at least a pad of paper and a pen so that you can photograph and then demand the full names of the people who treat new moms this way. Obviously that’s tough to do when you’re exhausted and feeling vulnerable but it may make people think twice about yelling at people, scolding people, waking them up in the middle of the night for paperwork, etc.

      • Suzi Screendoor

        This was actually one of my biggest beefs during my hospital stay. All through L&D and the 5 days we stayed post-partum (jaundice), the nurses were terrible about identifying themselves. They all wore ID, of course, but often down on their leg somewhere or upside down or covered up by something else. I spent almost an hour thinking that my L&D nurse was an anesthesiologist and wondering why it was taking her so long to give me the damn epidural! Wouldn’t kill a person to just tell you their name before they check your cervix, would it?

        • Roadstergal

          That seems like a violation of protocol. If you’re up to it, I’d say something…

      • BeatriceC

        They make these teeny, tiny little recorders that are sound activated. I have an emotionally difficult teen (middle kid, lists of issues, we are working on it), and have those little buggers stashed everywhere in the house (trust me that they are necessary). They are about the size of a quarter and work great, even through a pocket or a purse. When we form or formula feeding mom’s in-hospital support network, we should carry those things in our bags so it’s no longer a “he said, she said” thing.

    • Joy

      Any time you can use Clue IRL. 😉

      • sdsures

        RRRRRRRRRUN DOWN THE HALL!

    • Madtowngirl

      I feel like #2 and #5 are incredibly dangerous! I wonder how many babies will have to die before they stop cramming this “baby friendly” bullshit down our throats.

    • sdsures

      Props for the “Clue” reference! Just watched that the other night.

  • BeatriceC

    I’m not normally a litigious person, but I’ve been hoping for a while now that some young, eager attorney would find as many women and babies that have been hurt by BFHI and sue the ever loving crap out of one of the larger hospitals/hospital chains that have gone down this road. Maybe a billion dollar judgement will wake the hospitals up?

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      It seriously is a lawsuit waiting to happen, and while I don’t expect too much pushback at my local BFH in June when I deliver (they claim, at least, to be fairly common-sense about the way they implemented it), I have every intention of pointing out the potential legal ramifications if I end up with another CS and no help.
      “I see. You can’t take baby to the nursery because that discourages breastfeeding, even though I’m not breastfeeding. You expect me to be his sole caregiver, even though I literally can’t get out of bed, and I can’t get him in or out of the bassinet without getting out of bed. I’m on morphine for post-op pain, I’ve slept only a couple of hours out of the last two day, and I’m obese, but your solution (as it was in the past) is that I should bedshare, despite the fact that even bed-sharing advocates would tell you that that’s a really stupid idea given those factors. Right. I’d like to speak to both your superior and the patient advocate now, and I’m going to need the name of your hospital’s legal risk counsel so that my attorney* can speak to him or her. Thank you.”
      As I said, it does sound as though they’ve implemented this idiotic BFH thing with a reasonable degree of common sense, and my OB, who is fully supportive of my plans re feeding et all, “gets what he wants” according to multiple nurses when I was there last, so I probably won’t need to pull that card. It’s a rather nice one to have, though; I only wish that all the moms who have to go through the worst of it had that card, too.
      *family member who happens to be an experienced attorney and dad, and who has slightly less than no tolerance for rank stupidity in either capacity

      • BeatriceC

        I’m a little jealous of lawyer-daddy/family member. I’m stuck with a bunch of engineers and college professors, then married into a bunch of research scientists and engineers.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          He’s definitely useful to have around. 😉 He’s also just about the most sarcastic person I ever met (while, under it all, being a nice person), so I rather wish I could listen in on that phone call…teehee!

    • Anne Catherine

      Yes!! I’d also like to see a class action suit against all of the people/organizations that promote breastfeeding as being preventive for every disease under the sun–It’s false advertising, plain and simple.
      If any drug or supplement claimed to prevent obesity, diabetes, cancer, allergies, and make you smarter, it would have to have a lot more research behind it than the lactivists have!!

  • CSN0116

    Shit, products with far lesser sleep-related death tolls have been ripped off the market: i.e., drop side cribs, bumper pads (I looked it up once and they killed 30-some babies in over a 30 year time period, though not to dismiss the grief of said loss), Nap Nannies…

    …interesting

    • rh1985

      I’ll add infant bath seats, which had a total of 3 deaths during supervised use over a period of something like 2 or 3 decades. All other deaths were when parents left the baby in the bath alone. They were removed from the market because “parents were too stupid to follow the instructions.

      • CSN0116

        Bumbo chairs

        • rh1985

          I think they now have a big warning that it’s the bumbo FLOOR seat or something….

          • CSN0116

            It always had that warning. They put belts in them now. Ugh.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Wait, so you’re saying that I *shouldn’t* put Junior in the Bumbo, put the Bumbo on top of the Roomba, and then put the Roomba on the stairs landing in order to clean it?

        • Rach

          There was a death in Australia in 2013 where a 6 month old was left alone in the shower in a Bumbo. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-02/baby-drowned-bumbo-seat-shower-alone/7134660

          • rh1985

            That’s really unfortunate and tragic for the baby who lost its life, but I’m not sure that anything on earth could prevent that level of parental neglect.

  • rh1985

    I absolutely HATE this trend. The hospital I delivered at had a nursery, and I could not have coped without it. I had pre eclampsia and a c-section, and had been up the entire night before vomiting from the pre-e. I am not the best sleeper under the best of conditions. In the hospital bed, it took me about 2 hours to fall asleep each time. If my daughter had not been in the nursery overnight (she was formula fed), I would have had to feed her again before I ever fell back asleep, which would have resulted in zero sleep. The purpose of the hospital stay should be to recover, so the argument that moms will be tired and not have help at home is ridiculous. It’s for that very reason that it’s so important the moms get the sleep they need to recover from birth in the hospital, because they won’t be able to at home. I feel very strongly that it’s patient neglect of both the mother and the baby to not offer a nursery. The baby deserves to be safe, not cared for by a drugged, exhausted mother who can no longer cope, and the mother deserves to be able to rest and recover.

  • angry and scared

    Mass General Hospital is the high risk hospital for this region. It’s where I was planning to give birth because of multiple medical issues. I never thought it would go “Baby Friendly”. No idea what to do now. Maybe Newton-Wellesley is “posh” enough so they treat new mothers well? Or perhaps mothers there just bring their nannies. No idea what to do now. Glad I haven’t gotten pregnant yet, I’d be panicking.

    • Elizabeth A

      There are a LOT of high-risk hospitals in this region, though. I live there too. But if both MGH *and* BWH have gotten rid of the well-baby nurseries, I worry about what’s left. BIDMC (where I had my higher-risk kiddo) is on the list of hospitals phasing it out mentioned in the article. Mt. Auburn has had a crunchy reputation forever and is bad for high risk. Tufts?

      I feel pretty strongly that if you are looking at hospitals in Boston, you really do have options.

      • Villemom

        Had my kiddo at Mt Auburn in ’14–they still had a well baby nursery and when I needed formula the only question was Enfamil or Similac.

      • Katie MacAllister

        BMW hasn’t gotten rid of their well-baby nursery yet (thankfully- I’m delivering there and due in 6 weeks).

    • Liz Leyden

      Baystate? UMass Medical?

    • brooklinepaula

      BWH is THE high-risk hospital in this area, doing far more deliveries than MGH and has a tertiary care NICU. People come from all over the world to deliver at BWH. MGH, BWH, and NWH are all Partners and are all going “Baby Friendly”

  • Heidi Fritz

    I can attest to the fact that requiring rooming in and not allowing women to sleep actually discourages breastfeeding. I didn’t have an especially exceptional labor. However, since the baby had low blood sugar at birth his blood sugar was taken twice every two hours, once by the nurse then by the lab. Couldn’t sleep then. Then I’d have to nurse and since his blood sugar was low, my husband and I seriously struggled to keep him awake. He was never able to nurse long enough to actually get his sugar up and they let this happen for over a day before they took some useless interventions, first with an SNS and then with a syringe. It wasn’t until we got a night shift nurse who brought us some disposable nipples that he was able to eat and get his sugar up. By the time I got home after more than 72 hours with no sleep, I didn’t have the energy to re-attempt breastfeeding. I also didn’t feel like it was safe to try. I know I could have easily fallen asleep nursing him. I didn’t hesitate to let my in-laws feed him bottles while my husband and I tried to sleep when we got home. I also needed my husband to feed him sometimes in the middle of the night.

    • Heidi Fritz

      I was also on hydrocodone from the intense pain I had from the stitches.

  • sienna

    My husband is active duty and is stationed with a guy whose baby died because of rooming in. His wife had a C-Section and was drugged out of her mind. Her husband was deployed and she had no support as they had just transferred to their new unit that past summer. They were in an area where there was no military hospital with a maternity ward. She was trying to breastfeed, passed out, and the baby fell out of her relaxed arms and broke his neck. And he was lying there dead for well over an hour before he was discovered.

    • Sarah

      Horrific

    • rh1985

      Oh my god, that is horrific.

    • Allie P

      That’s terrible. I’m so sorry.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      That is truly horrifying. That poor, poor mom, dad and baby!
      I’m reminded of a post in a moms’ group that I’m in by a military mom. Dad was deployed when she gave birth, so her mom came in to help. Mom had to have a CS. Afterwards, when the nurse was getting pushy about why Dad wasn’t there to help, Mom explained that he was deployed, so her mom was going to stay the night to help with the baby, get kiddo when she needed to nurse, and so on.
      The nurse said that only Dad would be allowed to stay because “We expect fathers to stay with moms to promote family bonding.” Mom explained that Dad would much rather be there than in Afghanistan, but that wasn’t an option. Apparently, that was no excuse: just because Dad was on the other side of the world with the military didn’t mean he shouldn’t be there, and no, grandma wouldn’t be an acceptable substitute, and no, she couldn’t stay because, I kid you not, the presence of a non-parent might “interrupt family bonding.”
      A lot of us told her to contact whoever the appropriate person would be at the base to raise holy hell at the hospital. Personally, I hope she got some sort of military family advocate who closely resembled Gibbs of NCIS fame. She never did update us on the situation; I certainly hope that she and baby were okay, and that they tore a new one in whoever thought that was an acceptable way to treat a military wife and new mom.

      • Amy M

        “like” is for “agree with you that she should contact appropriate person at hospital and hope she did.”

      • guest

        I am a single mother by choice, and I had to argue with hospital staff and ultimately cry to get my mother approved to enter the NICU to find out how my babies were doing the first two days. The NICU doctors don’t come up to the ward I was in, you see, and their policy is that only the mother and father of NICU babies can have a wristband. All I wanted was to know how my babies were doing, because no one told me. I’m all for security and minimizing the germs in NICUs, but there should be an easy procedure for non-normative families in place.

        • BeatriceC

          The stupid thing is that hospitals do have procedures for non-normative families, they just don’t apply them to the newborn nurseries. The hospital where my boys are treated gives the parents of inpatients a specific colored wrist band so they know who should have 24 hour access and who can make decisions. MrC is not my boys’ father, only step father. Even before he was officially stepfather, the hospital had a procedure where I simply filled out a bunch of paperwork and had him designated as my proxy should I be unavailable. He gets a parent band now, no questions asked. This allows me to do other things like eat, sleep and care for the other boys when one is hospitalized. It would have been nice the several times two kids were admitted to two different hospitals, but I didn’t even know him back then.

        • rh1985

          I am a single mom by choice and the hospital let me sign to give my mother access. I guess it may vary by hospital whether they have policies.

      • Nick Sanders

        Apparently, “family” works just like epoxy.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Of course! And no doubt friends fall into the same category. Let your BFF hold Junior while you shower, and the next thing you know, he won’t recognize you!

        • Angharad

          It all makes sense now! The whole “humiliating moms, starving babies” are the sandpaper to rough up the surfaces/people you want to bond together.

    • demodocus

      oh god…

    • meglo91

      This could have been me. It could have been my daughter. I’ve posted about it here before, but I was pre-eclamptic and on a mag drip after birth. Woozy. Disoriented. Exhausted. My husband was home with kid #1. We were stationed in Alaska with no family nearby. There was no nursery and no one to take her, and she would only be quiet and sleep if I held her. At 2 or 3 am I woke to her slipping out of my arms. I caught her just in time and didn’t sleep a wink the rest of the night because I was so horrified that I’d nearly dropped my baby on the tile floor.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        About 4 weeks in, I was sitting on the edge of the couch, feet on the floor, and holding DD out in front of me at about 3 AM or so. I was out of my mind from sleep deprivation and PPD–DH didn’t help at nights because I was nursing. I fell asleep for a second or two, but, thank God, jerked myself awake in time to keep her from hitting the floor.

        • meglo91

          Yet another wonderful part of exclusive breastfeeding. I did the same thing. The resultant PPD was nearly lethal.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            HA! You know what the most ridiculous part of that whole scenario was? DD was getting a quarter ounce max from both my breasts combined at each nursing session, according to both the pump and the amount she’d drink from a bottle afterwards (ie, a normal amount for a formula-fed kid her age/size). I, however, was so into the woo/had been bullied so badly by the LCs that I was convinced that my getting her that much before giving her the dreaded bottle was probably a life-or-death difference, so I didn’t throw in the towel until after 4 months of mastitis, infections, an abscess, and, like yours, near-lethal PPD, though I never did get treated for any of that because (in the physical sickness cases) that might separate me from baby for a couple of hours, which, as we all know, would have ended our breastfeeding relationship right there, and (re the PPD) I couldn’t get it together enough to get help, so instead I essentially missed out on DD’s first year. A nice tradeoff, I don’t think.
            Next time, I’m FFing from the start, DH is helping with nights ditto, the kid’s going to the nursery at night, and I’m starting antidepressants while I’m in the hospital. I’m sure that the newborn phase will still be difficult, but it shouldn’t be the unmitigated horror that DD’s was.
            I am so sorry you had to deal with PPD, too. It’s not something I’d wish on my worst enemy.

    • crazy grad mama

      Oh my god, that’s the most awful thing I’ve ever heard.

    • Joy

      One of my biggest fears. The midwife put my baby in the bed with me on night two. I woke up so scared.

    • pandapanda

      What kind of effing nursing staff does not circle the rooms enough for a baby to be dead on the floor for over an HOUR?! I think it was rounds every 20 minutes or so at my hospital.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        At my hospital at night, I’d see a staff member every four hours for vitals, and not more often than that unless I used the call button to get someone there.
        Of course, this is the same hospital that set me (exhausted, overweight, on morphine post-CS) up in bed with baby propped on pillows in a football hold under my arm to “let her nurse and you sleep” and then spread the sheets and blankets over us up to my neck, so there is that.

        • pandapanda

          The nurse was just peeking into each room to see if anything looked amiss or if it looked like you were struggling, not actually doing anything like vitals or the lot.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I rarely saw the nurses except at change of shift, and that was even more true at night. A tech would come by to take vitals (I was post-op, so they were probably doing more of those than on a standard vaginal delivery), but the nurse only came if I specifically asked for one, or if I needed pain meds. Or if I was having trouble nursing, to tell me I wasn’t actually, that babies always scream for hours straight, and they don’t need much food anyway.
            To the credit of the tech I had most nights, she was absolutely lovely: after she’d take my vitals, she always asked if I’d like her to change DD for me to save my getting out of bed. She was a very warm, caring person, and definitely had The Touch with babies. I never before or since met someone who could unswaddle a baby from the waist down, change their diaper, and hand them back to mom…and baby still asleep!

      • guest

        I definitely didn’t see a nurse in my post-partum room that often. I think once an hour at night, but I was post-c-section, so it might have been less frequent for the vaginal birth rooms.

        • Inmara

          Once an hour is luxury, there were absolutely NO rounds overnight where I stayed. Last check was about 10 PM and then 7 AM in the morning. No wonder because there was one midwife for the whole floor (about 15 rooms, each with 2-3 women).

      • Liz Leyden

        The kind of nursing staff that have too many couplets to care for.

    • Who?

      That’s horrifying.

  • namaste863

    I swear to FSM these people treat women like Stepford Wives/Mothers. It certainly explains why they don’t allow new mums to have basic needs such as sleep and time to physically recover. They’re robots, after all. They’re machines made to cook, clean, sexually satisfy, and make babies. They’re not living beings, let alone human beings.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      But don’t forget that if the women themselves want to be sexually satisfied (read: not cosleep, or perhaps even–horrors!–leave the baby with a doting Grandma for a date night), that’s fifty shades of Not Okay because Good Moms Don’t Want Sex, they only have sex to make their husbands/significant others happy because that’s what they’re supposed to do.
      *snarl*

  • AA

    The purpose of Baby Friendly is to mete out shame to women who are not “mom enough.”

  • PhDAnthropologist

    Even the non-bay friendly hospitals in the Los Angeles area all seemed to have closed their nurseries. I called from Long Beach to Inglewood and not a one has a nursery except for an NICU. I was exhausted because I sleep very lightly and every sound my daughter made woke me back up. I 100% contribute my PPD to being forced to room in after not having any sleep in over 50 hours and being yelled at by an LC *and* two nurses for not wanting to breastfeed.

    Baby friendly seems to forget that the mom is a patient too. That moms were assisted by the female members of their societies for months after giving birth. This crosses all continents and all types of societies from hunter-gatherer to sedentary socities. The BFHI is *not* anthropologically natural at all.

    • Deborah

      Upvote your comment times 10

    • BeatriceC

      One of my nephews was born in an LA area hospital. My sister had a prolonged, stalled labor that eventually led to an emergency c-section after 2 days of labor, most of which was stalled at 6cm. The baby was in trouble so they did the c-section in a hurry. My sister, like me and most of the rest of my family, is a redhead, with all the usual anesthetic resistance that comes with being a redhead. The spinal didn’t fully take. She couldn’t feel the skin incision, but felt everything else fully. After about 30 seconds of them not believing her that she felt the uterine incision and was feeling everything, she passed out from shock. The baby was born healthy, so they wouldn’t take him to the nursery. My brother-in-law had to care for the baby while they worked on my sister, and she was expected to care for the newborn from the moment she regained consciousness.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        What the fucking FUCK?! (Sorry, I don’t usually use language like that, but in this case, it’s more than justified.) Please, PLEASE tell me she filed one hell of a complaint? I am so very sorry she went through that…I can’t even imagine.

        • BeatriceC

          Of all my siblings, I’m the least afraid of confrontation, and y’all have seen how much I really, really avoid it myself. She didn’t say anything, but my mother did, for all the good it did. Additionally, this was her first child, and her husband had an employer that provided paid paternity leave, so he never had to leave the hospital. It worked out, but my sister had the support necessary from family. Not all women would be so lucky.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Hell, leaving aside the support issue (not that it’s unimportant, ’cause it’s anything but), the anesthesia/not listening to the patient issue is totally unacceptable. My OB visibly winces if he thinks he *might* cause me minor discomfort when palpating baby or doing a pap. (He doesn’t, ’cause he’s awesome that way, but that’s another story.) I’m pretty sure that if an anesthesiologist didn’t listen to a patient who said she was hurting during a freaking ABDOMINAL SURGERY, the only reason the anesthesiologist’s head wouldn’t roll there and then is that it might contaminate the sterile field.
            I’m so glad she had the support she had, but that poor thing!

      • rh1985

        WHAT THE HELL? That is horrifying. How is that best for the baby? That’s not safe at all. Baby needed to be cared for by trained, caring nurses so mom could recover and care for baby later on. That’s just so disgusting….

    • BeatriceC

      Oh, and you could come down to San Diego. There are a few hospitals here that still have well baby nurseries. Just don’t use any of the Kaiser hospitals.

  • moto_librarian

    Again, are newborns not considered patients? I know both of mine had to be discharged form the hospital before they went home. As patients, why in the hell aren’t they being cared for appropriately? Why shouldn’t they have access to a nursery and staff?

    The other huge problem with the BFHI garbage is that is the height of privilege to assume that women will have family or friends to come and help them with their newborn. If a woman is single, she will have even greater need for that brief hospital stay to recover physically and get some rest. This is just another way that wealthy white women are being allowed to dictate to everyone else. It’s not right.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Right on.
      I posted above about the military wife whose husband was deployed when she had their baby via CS, but who wasn’t allowed to have her own mom stay with her to help because Dad was SUPPOSED to be there in order to bond, so if he couldn’t be bothered to show up (he was in Afghanistan…), then no one else could help her, either. WTF, people?!

    • Roadstergal

      It seems like it would disproportionately affect low-income women. Affluent women probably have had maternity leave or started on their SAH-ness, and have had opportunity to rest beforehand, and have help at home when they return. Low-income women might have had to work all the way up to labor, and have to go right back to work again, and now they’re not even getting one night of rest at the hospital? Ugh.

    • SporkParade

      I have a slightly different objection. Are women who have given birth not considered patients? And if they are patients, then isn’t it the responsibility of the nurses to, y’know, nurse them back to health? As opposed to contributing to their sleep deprivation and putting a bunch of responsibility on them?

      • moto_librarian

        Very true! This is another way that the whole “childbirth isn’t a medical event” bullshit is hurting women. My second delivery was uncomplicated and thus a much easier recovery than my first, but I was still exhausted and sore from a 2nd degree tear. I also knew that I wouldn’t have help at home until the weekend (son was born on a Wednesday), so I was so grateful to have the newborn nursery. My husband could go home and rest and take care of our older son, and I was able to rest, knowing that the nurses would bring the baby to me when he was hungry.

  • Liz p

    Yep. Had my last baby in a baby friendly hospital. It was horrible! There was a mandatory 2- hour skin time where I had to hold him and couldn’t shower – I am not kidding. I literally had blood and poop all over me and I had to sit in it for two hours.
    Then they gave me oxicodine and made me room in with him. I was terrified to sleep with him, but he made these very loud noises in his cot and I couldn’t sleep. So I asked my husband to walk out side the room with him while I napped. The nurse SENT HIM BACK IN. told him he wasn’t allowed to wander the halls with the baby. I asked to be sent home early just so I could sleep.

    • namaste863

      Ridiculous. These people seem to be committed to making new mums as miserable as possible.

      • Inmara

        I shudder just thinking about 2 hour skin-to-skin (reading such stories here, I wrote in my birth plan that I want baby to be cleaned and dressed before given to me)! But in the end we got it perfectly – right after pushing him out and before clamping the cord baby was placed on me (it was truly magical moment!), then he was cleaned and wrapped and put in the warmer box while I rested. I was not allowed to have shower for about an hour but it was to get sure that there is no PPH and I don’t pass out while walking.

        • moto_librarian

          When they handed me my oldest, he proceeded to take a big shit all over me. As a six year-old, he finds this detail hilarious.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            And hilarious though my inner six-year-old finds that story, that, ladies and gents, is why my kids get wiped off and diapered before they’re placed on my chest. Pretty sure we won’t bond any the less if there’s a diaper between their butts and my skin. For that matter, it might actually improve bonding: I can sit there and cuddle the adorable new baby without thinking “please don’t poop, please don’t poop, please don’t poop…”

          • moto_librarian

            He had just been delivered, still attached to his cord and everything. They scooped him up within a couple of minutes because he was showing signs of TTN, and then I started hemorrhaging. His little brother had a nuchal cord and had to have a little help breathing from the NICU team, so he was handed to me in a clean, warm bundle about 20 minutes after birth.

    • CSN0116

      I refuse skin to skin after birth. I make them weigh, assess and wrap the baby before they hand him/her to me.

      • Kelly

        Me too. Clean that baby up and i want to know the weight as soon as possible.

    • rh1985

      Ick. They asked at my hospital if I wanted immediate skin to skin. I declined. So they cleaned and wrapped my daughter up and a nurse helped me hold her near my face while they stitched me up from my CS. I can’t believe they don’t give a choice.

    • Allie P

      They made us hold our sticky smelly baby for hours, too. My milk came in NO faster, I’ll tell you what. You know what worked? Giving her some formula while we waited for my milk to come in so she wasn’t so weak and sleepy and had energy to suck.

  • Monkey Professor for a Head

    The hospital I gave birth in had mandatory rooming in. The second night after giving birth (after a 23 hour labour and 7 hours of sleep total for the previous 48 hours) I could not get mini monkey to settle. I’d put him down asleep and 5-10 minutes later he would be crying again. Eventually in the middle of the night, I was too exhausted to cope anymore. I was in a shared room and I didn’t want to disturb the other patients (and I wasn’t thinking very clearly at that stage) so instead of ringing the call bell, I walked down to the nurses station at the far end of the ward with my baby in my arms. I had had a PPH and was dizzy when I stood up (I ended up having a blood transfusion the following night), and I nearly fell over (again, with my baby I my arms) several times on that walk. The nurse sent me back to bed (didn’t notice that I was completely unsteady), and followed me down there a few minutes later. She swaddled mini monkey, put him back in the bassinet and left. I think we slept for maybe half an hour or an hour after that before he woke up again. I ended up sitting in bed holding him because that was the only way he would sleep, all the while trying desperately to stay awake – thankfully I hadn’t needed any opiates because otherwise I think I would have fallen asleep holding him.

    Back when I worked in Ireland, I used to regularly work 36 hour shifts with little to no sleep. That was crap, but what I went through in hospital was many times worse. Sleep deprivation is used as a torture method for a reason. Ironically what I went through nearly completely derailed my breastfeeding attempts – I rushed and put up with bad latches because I just wanted to get mini monkey fed and back to sleep, and ended up with very painful nipples as a result.

    • moto_librarian

      This is simply unconscionable. I passed out on the toilet the night after my first child was born due to weakness from a pph, and it was a big fucking deal. Our son was in the NICU and our hospital still has a nursery. On what planet is it safe or sane to expect a mother who is exhausted and sleep deprived to take care of her newborn, particularly if the delivery was complicated?

    • Inmara

      Your experience is almost a perfect fit to mine, except PPH. I was in a shared room with two other moms, there was no nursery (technically there was, just not on our floor and not even mentioned to us – only moms who literally passed out got to send their babies there, all others, including CS moms, had to room in), and for three nights in a row I had been sleeping 2 hours, trying to breastfeed and console baby who was sleeping in the day but refused to do it during night hours. Thank God I was able to sleep the night after birth because baby was exhausted too and didn’t cry then, but next 3 nights were awful. Looking back, I should have kept him at the breast more but all breastfeeding “support” I got was “Put him at each breast for 12-20 min every 2 hours” – totally wrong, he should have been cluster nursing instead, and did it afterwards at home.
      Before heading to hospital, I was almost sure that we’ll get family room and my husband will stay and help but hospital was full and there were no family rooms available. Standard discharge time is in 3rd day after birth but we had to stay one more day because baby had lost more than 10% of weight. I understand very well those moms who ask to get discharged as soon as possible – at home they have at least some chances to get some sleep.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        The only thing that saved me was getting 4 hours of sleep immediately after birth (mini monkey was born at 1am) while my husband looked after us. I fell asleep during skin to skin, and my husband felt so bad for me that when the baby needed to feed he put him on my chest and held him there to feed instead of waking me. But for the remaining two nights, my husband wasn’t allowed to stay past 8pm. He got yelled at by a nurse on the last evening for staying past visiting hours – I was getting a blood transfusion and couldn’t use my right hand.

        There was also a mandatory “rest” period in the middle of the day where he had to leave. The first day they chose those 2 hours to test all those alarms. 🙁

  • Old Lady

    This is my biggest concern now that the hospital I am about to deliver at has gone “baby friendly” and subsequently closed the nursery. I know it was a big help the last time I gave birth there and this time my husband will likely not be able to spend the whole time with me. I concidered switching hospitals even because of it.

  • Madtowngirl

    Sigh, Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Illinois just announced that it’s going “baby friendly” today. Too bad the initiative isn’t really about babies’ well-being.

  • nata

    I had my first two babies taken away to the nursery so I could “rest”, I did not feel I had any say in this. I missed my babies and could not really rest without them. So when later the hospitals changed to being “baby friendly” I actually enjoyed postpartum hospital stay with my other babies much more. But I had quite easy births. Really, what’s wrong with the people – once the system used to force moms to send babies to nurseries, now they try to force rooming in – is it possible to provide choice – to adjust to the needs of the individual mothers and babies??

    • Elizabeth A

      No one-size-fits-all solution is ever going to work. THe ideal would be to have the well baby nursery available to parents on request, with ambulatory parents encouraged to come by and get the baby any time, and non-ambulatory parents able to ring for the nurse and have the baby brought over as immediately as possible.

      The only reason I got any rest after the birth of my daughter was that she was in the NICU, and really, it should not be that way.

      • rh1985

        Exactly. You had to request that your baby go to the nursery at the hospital where my daughter was born. They would only ask to take the baby to the nursery if the baby needed observation or it was deemed unsafe due to the mother’s condition or medications she needed to be on, and she had no support person staying in her room. Unless you requested otherwise, baby stayed 24/7 in mom’s room by default. Every night I rang for the nurse to take her then when I woke up I rang to have her brought back. I am not sure if they would have eventually brought her back anyway if I slept really late. I was fine with having to ask since the nurses were responsive and came pretty quickly.

        • BeatriceC

          I think that sounds like a pretty reasonable set up. Many women don’t want to be separated even for one minute, and many women need a break to rest and recover. That set up gives everybody the option to chose what’s best for them at that moment. As long as the staff isn’t trying to lay guilt trips on the mothers asking for the baby to be taken to the nursery, your hospital sounds ideal.

          • rh1985

            I didn’t get any guilt or criticism. I think our nurses (who were amazing, by the way) weren’t really fans of some of the stuff the hospital was doing to promote breastfeeding. They did have formula you could request if you wanted to formula feed – they gave me a ton of those little ready to feed bottles. But no pacifiers, which the nurses thought was ridiculous. They dug around and found some old ones that never got used after searching for a while. Also, I’ve heard, anecdotally, that if you are breastfeeding, they give you a speech about rooming in promoting BF blah blah blah etc, which I assume is being required by someone higher up because they want to reduce the number of BF babies who get supplemented (while babies who are already being formula fed by choice of the parents wouldn’t be counted in that stat anyway).

          • Inmara

            I was stupid enough to not take pacifier with me, and in the third night when baby was not willing to eat anymore but was still crying, midwife in charge took pity for us (actually, she was the only one showing some kind of compassion during our stay) and fished out a pacifier from somewhere. It didn’t get baby to sleep but at least bought us few minutes of silence.

          • rh1985

            Also, I may be kind of weird, but I only felt a need for my baby to be there when I was awake. If I was going to be asleep, though, I didn’t feel the need for her to be there and honestly felt less anxious about her being with a nurse while I slept, since the nurse would be awake and able to notice if she was breathing oddly or something.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Wait? Are you suggesting that not every mom/baby dyad is exactly the same, and that patient care should, as much as reasonably possible, recognize and accommodate that? What madness is this?! (/sarcasm, to state the obvious)

  • Michelle Singleton

    I was induced at 38 weeks. When I got to the point during the pushing where I just said “I’m done, get them out!” it was nearly 1am. At that point the anesthesiologist starting putting morphine in my epidural. I briefly saw each baby and heard them cry. After that, I was out. I woke up at various times in recovery. I didn’t really get to see the girls until they were 8 hours old. And then they wouldn’t let them stay in the room with me alone because I was on pain meds.
    I can’t imagine how they go from “we don’t want you to pick the babies up because you are a fall risk because of the medications we are giving you” to “oh you have morphine in your system and are a fall risk? Don’t care. Here’s your kid. Have fun! Toodles!”

  • Elisabetta Aurora

    When my daughter was born I wouldn’t dream of letting anyone take her out of my sight. Having her room in was what I wanted, although, I kept her in a basinet and not in the bed with me. It was my choice and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. However, it seems crazy to me to assume that mother and baby sleeping together immediately after birth is natural and what women have always done before, gasp, the evil hospitals stole that from them. When women give birth in tribal communities or even in western civilizations before hospitals, they were often surrounded by entourage of female family and friends. Almost certainly most of those times babies were passed around and cared for by the other women while the mother got rest. It’s even likely that those other women if they were lactating would even feed the baby for the mother so that she could recover.

  • Taysha

    When I first had my kids, I was roomed on a specific mother-baby floor. Kids went to the nursery, brought back for feeds. Nurses loved ferrying them about and hung around my room since I was the only mother on the floor.
    The last day of my stay they made me change rooms (and floors). I had to carry all my stuff, the kids, AND myself post-csection to another section of the hospital. Fine.
    Once I got there I asked for the nursery so i could rest for a few and I got growled at by the nurses that “they prefer if children stay with their mothers”. My mom and I rolled the kids to the nursery. When they complained again I pointed out I had just single handedly moved myself two floors to a room where both mobile bassinets did not fit well and if they’d rather I trip on them and fall before I had some sleep, I would be happy to report them to the charge nurse.

    they took the kids. But brought them back 2 min before my 2hrs were over and I kept them overnight. I did almost trip and kill myself AND one of them due to lack of maneuvering room. I believe I asked to be discharged early because if I wasn’t going to sleep, i rather not sleep in my own house.

    Thankfully, my parents took over days so I could catch up on sleep, and hubs and I did nights.

  • Monica

    As with everything else in parenting we all have dreams of what things will be like when baby is here. I know I thought for sure I wouldn’t want my baby to leave my side, but when I was there late at night by myself trying to recover and just exhausted I did end up calling for the baby to go to the nursery. When I wanted to exclusively breastfeed I just said bring her back for feedings. It worked. And I couldn’t even get out of bed after my c-section until the next day. And even still, trying to get out of bed to get to the baby bassinet and tend to my screaming baby was not easy. So unless they are going to have one nurse for every patient 24/7 I just don’t see how this is baby friendly. If my baby were in the nursery, then he or she would get much quicker attention. I think if I were forced to room in it would have lead to resentment of the baby. I can’t imagine what it would do to a mother more prone to postpartum depression either. I don’t know who this is friendly to, but it’s not babies or mothers or hospital staff.

    • Amy M

      It’s friendly to the hospital’s finances.

  • Kathleen

    I am all for breastfeeding (I breastfed my daughter for 15 months and am still breastfeeding my son who is almost 2) but the nursery was a godsend for me as a new mother. When my daughter was born (after 22 hours of labor) I was exhausted. I couldn’t sleep at all, even when I had the epidural and was just waiting for labor to progress. I was just too excited and anxious and nervous and uncomfortable (because I had to have my blood pressure monitored a ton thanks to gestational hypertension)….But I was determined to have my daughter with me the whole time. The baby blues hit me hard (it wasn’t quite PPD but it was intense) and early and adding the exhaustion in, I was a wreck. I was convinced though, that if I sent her to the nursery breasfeeding wouldn’t happen and she would be made to cry and cry. Finally, a very sweet nurse and my husband, worried because I hadn’t slept in three days and was bleeding heavily (I passed out after birth from blood loss) convinced me that taking her to the nursery for a sleep cycle (four hours) would be just fine. She gave my daughter some formula in a little cup, told me to sleep and reassured me that they do not let them cry. She even let my husband follow her to see the nursery (was a gray area -rules wise). I got some much needed sleep, my daughter slept the whole time and she was wheeled back in to me just waking up and ready to try nursing again, and nothing was ruined. I can’t imagine what would have happened to me if there was no nursery and I hadn’t gotten any rest or recovery time at all.

  • attitude devant

    The Baby (un)Friendly program has given hospitals an excuse to cut costs by cutting actual care. Thanks Baby (un)Friendly Health Program!!!

    If doulas REALLY wanted to care for mothers they’d step into this void and provide post-partum support. But they are mostly birth junkies and and don’t care about mothers after birth. Or if they do, they can’t see what’s happening because their ideology blinds them.

    • Gatita

      There are post-birth doulas but they are a fortune–$1000 a week in my area.

    • Sarah

      That’s what’s happened in the NHS. Our postnatal wards are massively understaffed and doing away with nurseries was used as an excuse to reduce costs.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Or they charge a LOT for post-birth help. $30-$50/hour is SOP for PP doulas in my area. I get that they deserve rather more than minimum wage, but who the heck can afford that?!

    • Liz Leyden

      Postpartum doulas in my area start at $25 per hour.

  • Madtowngirl

    This is where I have to give major credit to the nurses who took care of me after my c-section at my “baby friendly” hospital. They had a nursery, but the hospital discouraged using it. The nurses must have noticed that I was falling asleep while having conversations with my visitors. They had to take my daughter to the nursery anyway for the carseat test and a couple of times to put her under the warmer. Each time, they didn’t bring her back until I could get a couple of hours of sleep. They were constantly harping on me to sleep, too.

    This “baby friendly” initiative is definitely concerning enough, that I’m rethinking having another baby. Perhaps my husband’s new insurance policy would allow us to go to the other hospital in the city.

  • Zornorph

    My baby roomed in with me, but that was totally my choice as I hadn’t just given birth and I also wasn’t breastfeeding him. I have obviously never given birth, but I had a double hernia fix in my 30’s. I can’t imagine having to care for a baby for 48 hours straight (the length of time before I could take him home) after that.

    • Gatita

      Your son is beyond adorable, and so is your dog!

    • FEDUP MD

      I had a large abdominal hernia fixed after 2 c sections. The first thing out of my mouth the next day was that it sure was easier not having to exclusively care for a baby after major abdominal surgery!

  • Megan

    It’s not always just moms who are exhausted. My husband stayed with me and supported me through a 4 day induction/labor before I ended up having a CS. He hadn’t had any sleep either. He wouldn’t have been safe to take care of our daughter after she was born either. Thank God our hospital took her for a few hours. I was under the impression that our hospital was working towards baby friendly status but I am told they still are not accredited, and thank God for that! This time, hubby will need to go home at least some of the time to help care for our older daughter after I deliver this little lady. Since i will most likely have a repeat CS, I can’t imagine not having any help at all the entire time. What a crazy idea, and one we would never implement with any other hospital patient.

    • Zornorph

      The nurses were very nice to me and offered to feed him at midnight both nights – something I was happy to take advantage of. I had been up all night before he was born (at 10am) and the extra help was very appreciated.

    • demodocus

      My husband, too, plus the added element that the last time he’d been in regular contact with a newborn, he was 3. No idea how to change a diaper and only the vaguest clue on how to hold a baby.

    • Elisabetta Aurora

      Same with my husband. I sent him home the first night after ours was born. Neither my husband nor I had slept in 3 days. The place where he was supposed to sleep was on this horrible pull-out sofa, that was really, really bad. It made my shitty hospital bed seem like a cotton candy cloud. Anyway, husband didn’t want to go, but I pointed out that if he didn’t sleep he wouldn’t be safe to drive us all home in the next couple of days.

      • Megan

        Yeah, the pull out chairs they give the dads/non-birthing parent are truly a joke. I felt horrible that he was sleeping on that and even offered him a nap in my bed. He refused because I was in so much pain, but I truly did feel bad for him.

    • Shawna Mathieu

      My husband also had problems. He’d already stayed in the hospital with me for a month and a half before my son was born, going home only to do laundry and feed the cat. I had a C-section, so he had to do everything for that. He had to wake me up every two hours so I could pump. My son had low blood sugar, so we took turns feeding milk and formula. We had NO friends or family able to help out to take the load off of either of us. My PPD started in the hospital, one more thing my husband had to deal with. I still don’t know how we made it.

  • AlexisRT

    This happened to my sister at the new LIJ hospital in New York a few weeks ago. She had an easy vaginal delivery but she said she would have had no idea what would have happened if she had a C section. There’s a presumption that with private rooms and beds a woman’s partner will help.

    With my first (UK, 2007) there was no nursery. I had my C section at 7pm. My husband was kicked out a few hours later (they let him stay late–if I’d been on postnatal all visitors had to leave at 7 or 8pm). I was drugged up, on mag, and miserable. I couldn’t put the baby down or get help.

    With #2 (USA, 2011) it was optional night nursery. I had my CS at 8am. My husband could not stay overnight. I came in anemic and lost over a liter of blood, dropping my BP post-op to 80/40 (I came in borderline hypertensive). I nearly passed out. He couldn’t stay and I had IV fluids and Toradol overnight. If I hadn’t been able to send DS to the nursery I don’t know what I would have done.

    • momofone

      “There’s a presumption that with private rooms and beds a woman’s partner will help.” That’s right, and a presumption that a woman has a partner.

      • Sarah

        Yes, one of the many reasons why removing nursing professionals and kicking the can to relatives and partners instead is such a bad idea.

        • Joy

          In the UK you don’t even have that. Midwives who take 15-20 minutes to respond to the call bell and no overnight partners. In my area at least.

          • Sarah

            There’s a move towards trying to get partners in overnight, though. Clearly intended as a replacement for adequate nursing staff. Women who don’t have anyone to look after them are shit out of luck, they just get to sleep on a ward with a load of strange men.

      • BeatriceC

        Also a presumption that *if* a woman has a partner *and* she also has older children that she has additional support for the other children to be cared for.

  • guest

    Mine went straight to the NICU and stayed there for eight days, so I didn’t have to deal with the lack of nursery (my hospital had one, but the tour nurse said it was only for babies needing special care). Let me tell you, as much as I wanted my babies home and in the same room as me, getting those nights of uninterrupted sleep was AMAZING for my recovery from a failed induction and c-section – and then also recovering from the fever and cough I picked up while in the hospital (severe coughing shortly after abdominal surgery – NOT FUN).

    A person who has just gone through labor and birth deserves rest and support, whenever she asks for it. For healthy babies, this means that ANY TIME a new mother wants a break YOU GIVE IT TO HER. If she were at home, friends and family can do this. At the hospital, the nursery does this. Not to allow it is inhumane.

    • Amy M

      I agree–inhumane is the word. I had my babies at a hospital with a nursery. I certainly left them in there at times, especially overnights. The nurses would bring them to me for feeding, and one kind nurse offered to do an overnight feed so I could get more uninterrupted sleep. Also, I had a PPH about 8-9hrs after they were born–thank goodness they were in the nursery at the time, since I wasn’t in any shape to watch them at that point.

      If the nurses had told me that I had to keep them with me constantly and be completely responsible, even after the PPH, I probably would have lost my mind. It’s cruel to insist that a woman, say one who had a Csection, maneuver the baby in and out of that tall bassinet. I’ve heard the stories where nurses refused help to the new mother, saying only “well how do you think you will manage at home?”

      • guest

        It’s crazy. Even just a few days makes a big difference in managing with a c-section incision. There’s no reason a mom should have to start doing everything immediately.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Yeah, the response to “How do you expect to handle it at home?” is, “Well, I assumed I would be able to do more after healing in the hospital a couple of days”

          • rh1985

            Pretty much. If no recovery is to be allowed in the hospital, they may as well just discharge everyone home so they can get relatives or friends to come help.

          • Guest

            Right? I mean, I was not at all ready to go home the first two days post-op, but if I had also been doing 100% of childcare duty at that time, I would have been seriously tempted to check out AMA. I can barely remember most of those days.

          • Who?

            That may well be the endgame. I had my kids in hospital in the UK in the early nineties: boy born just after midnight, home 4pm same day; girl born at midday, they wanted me to go home that afternoon, I insisted on staying one night, and went home the next morning.

            A midwife came to the house every day for 10 days, or longer, until baby regains its birth weight.

            I was sitting in the chair next to my hospital bed in the early morning after he was born, couldn’t reach the buzzer (though the nurse must have put us there) and could not stand up. And I’d had a quick labour and easy delivery, and was on no drugs. It was about 40 mins before someone came close enough for me to get their attention.

            On the whole our experience was v positive, and I didn’t know any different, but it was pretty basic.

          • guest

            And if I can’t, I’ll hire a baby nurse to come help.

  • jhr

    Let the lawsuits begin!

  • Felicitasz

    But this is not true, is it… ? OMG.
    After my planned homebirth (in Canada, Ontario), hospital transfer and eventual C/S, my son and I spent a few days in hospital. I was under the care of my midwife, I was breastfeeding, skin-to-skin bonding, and yet, I too relied on the nursery. This is where my baby spent a few hours under vigilant supervision when a) I wasn’t yet able to wake up and get up quickly enough in case he had a spit-up or other trouble b) I took a shower or went to the warming kitchen and did not want to leave my baby unattended.
    The nursery thus was a) a place where trained professionals were on guard during the beginnings on my own recovery and b) a “substitute husband”, really – I took the baby there in the exact moments when, had I been able to give birth at home, I would have told my hubby during those first days to please watch the newborn while I do this or that.
    Crunchy as some mothers are, it is still different from STUPID. Taking away the nursery is not “baby-friendly”. It is brainless. Oh, please, please…

  • angry and scared

    I wonder if the next trend we’re going to see is mothers checking themselves out after a day (against medical advice) so they can go home and sleep for eight hours before coming back and doing the long hours of mandatory unpaid childcare work hospitals are now requiring of them. Gosh, even at a minimum wage job there are laws about hours and meal breaks.

    Of course, this might cut into the hospital’s bottom line, to they’ll probably scare all mothers out of it by involving the state in custody of the first few minority/poor women who try to get some rest this way.

    • Joy

      I know of three friends who checked out AMA within 24 hours of having a c-section in the UK.

      • rh1985

        Who can blame them when they have to share a room with several other mothers and babies, so that even if their own baby were to sleep well, at least one of the others is likely to be awake at a particular time, and you can’t have a partner, relative, or friend stay to help. At least at home, they can have that help.

        And people wonder why I don’t want a single-payer only health care system in the US… I only need to look at UK maternity care and say, NOPE.

  • Erin

    Had my son not gone to NICU, he would have been with me 24/7 and my husband wasn’t allowed to stay. For understandable reasons (massive mental breakdown from which I’m still recovering), they wouldn’t discharge me until he was released from NICU (they rightly thought I wouldn’t have come back for him if they let me go on my own) and so on the last night he had to stay with me. 2 days post c-section, hadn’t slept in over a week as I’d had back to back labour pains for 4 days prior to the c-section and was too busy being suicidal afterwards to bother with sleep.

    I fed him, realized I was getting really sleepy and buzzed for a midwife. Some woman came to see what I wanted and then left saying a midwife would come when available. I watched the clock tick around… 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours.. I slowly got out of bed myself and wobbled around to his crib, put him down and he knocked off the mask he had to wear because they were treating his jaundice on a light bed. Tried putting mask back on, screaming baby. Picked him back up, cuddled repeated. It’s now 3 hours after I buzzed. Finally got him down with mask on. Get into bed, fall asleep myself only to be woken by a midwife wondering how on earth I managed by myself and making bitchy comments that I won’t be getting out in the morning if I’ve pulled anything and that serves me right.

    Although to be fair, given the state I was in, not sure I’d have been happy with him in a nursery either. Some help without being made to feel I was a useless pain in the neck would have been wonderful.

    • Gatita

      Fuck that midwife. Compassionate, women centered care my ass.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Many postpartum specialists now believe that nurseries, long a life raft for recovering mothers, is not the best, or most natural, way to provide care…

    Grammar aside, who are these specialists?

    • demodocus

      and since when is it natural for mom to be the only caretaker?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        And why shouldn’t recovering mothers have a “life raft”?

      • CSN0116

        Yes, in these glorious societies where babies are exclusively breast fed, and historically speaking, the family is my less mobile (mom isn’t living in CA because that’s where her job took her with her family in MA). The family, predominantly female figures, provide immense support to the new mom. They clean her house, keep after her other children, bring her food and leave her to rest, only bringing her baby when it’s time to feed. In what culture in what place in time was/is it normal to abandon a brand new mom and baby …much less abandon them and expect breastfeeding (or bonding) to go well?! It’s setting everything up for failure. What model is this genius idea based off of? Who invented it?

        • Gatita

          Seriously. The woman who takes care of my son is from Guatemala and with her second child she literally spent two months in bed resting and breastfeeding. She was actually a little annoyed because she felt well enough to get up but her relatives wouldn’t let her because they wanted her to fully recuperate before exerting herself.

          Her first baby? Died in a homebirth. She insisted on hospital births for the three that followed, making her the first woman in her family to do so.

  • demodocus

    I was so loopy from the magnesium sulfate they kept me on for 24 hours after the boy was born (and probably the fact that my water broke about 10 minutes after i fell asleep the night before) that i don’t have a single memory of his first night. I also stayed in L&D that night. I *think* the nurses took care of most of his needs ’cause i honestly have no idea who was there or what happened.

  • CSN0116

    If my beloved hospital, where I delivered all 5 of my babies, recently remodeled and was careful to preserve their well baby nursery, can I assume that they do not have plans to destroy it? Or is a lengthy letter on my behalf needed? :/

    I don’t understand how this is happening. I don’t understand. How can a small group of people be so powerful? Lactivists are NOT common. And they’re even less plentiful “in real life” where they cannot hide behind the veil of a computer screen to spout nonsense. How is this happening?!!!

    • Inmara

      One answer – cost reduction for hospitals.