I had plans when I was pregnant with our daughter. My first pregnancy. I studied the books. I read the websites. I perused the blogs. I questioned my friends who had children about their experiences. What they would and wouldn’t change. I created my birth plan, made copies, and handed everyone their version. The midwives knew exactly what I wanted to happen. They probably actually laughed at this first-time mom behind closed doors, but they whole-heartedly agreed with me when we went over everything.
All my dreams of what would happen after delivery were dashed when they rushed my daughter to the NICU right after she was born because of fluid in her lungs. My plan was to have her room in with us and never spend any time in the nursery, let alone the NICU. She wasn’t supposed to leave my side. The NICU wasn’t in my birth plan. God has a way of working in the difficult moments and turning us to Him. In a way, it became a blessing as I required two blood transfusions and needed rest. But my heart ached not being able to see or hold my daughter whenever I wanted.
When I became pregnant with our oldest son, I basically used the same birth plan. Thankfully, there were no complications with his delivery. He stayed in my room most of the time. This was a tough decision for me. But my husband insisted we would get more sleep. Our son stayed with us all day, until around 10 pm when I fed him and called the nurse. Then he was brought to me every three hours or whenever he was hungry. While I understand this isn’t for everyone, part-time rooming worked for us.
Maybe you on the fence about whether to room in or send your baby to the nursery. What works for one family may not work for another. What works with one baby might not work with the other. Here are some reasons to room in:
More Opportunities for Skin to Skin Contact
The more time your baby is in your room, the more chances you’ll have to be skin to skin. It doesn’t have to be just mama and baby either. Skin to skin is also a great way for baby and daddy to bond. Skin to skin helps to regulate baby’s body temperature, aids in the breastfeeding journey (Moore & Anderson, 2007), and exposes baby to the mother’s bacteria which in turn may help protect baby from getting sick (WHO, 1998).
You Have Control Over Baby
Although you might tell the nurses what you do and don’t want to happen while you baby is away from you, unless you’re there you really give up control. The stories of parents telling the nurses that they did not want their child to have a pacifier but the baby comes back into the room either sucking on a pacifier or just one laying in the bassinet, are numerous. While they may not give your child a bottle, if they get backed up or busy, they may not be able to bring you your baby on your schedule. It is possible that you will refuse certain shots but the nurse will miss it and give the baby shots anyway. While this is rare, it could still be a possibility.
There’s something nice about being able to bond with your baby while having others to take care of you. We don’t have family who lives around us, so being in the hospital to have a baby is kind of like a mini-vacation. I don’t have to do laundry, worry about the dishes, or make meals. I can simply enjoy being with my baby. Those moments are priceless. I know that when I get home I will be bombarded with my other children and the demands of life will start as soon as I walk in the front door.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s a personal decision. For those of you who have had children, what did you do? Would you do it again?
Moore E. R, Anderson G. C. Randomized controlled trial of very early mother-infant skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding status. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health. 2007;52(2):116–125.
World Health Organization [WHO] 1998. Evidence for the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding (rev. ed., WHO/CHD/98.9). Geneva, Switzerland: Author.
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