To Room in or Nursery Care

whitney September 4, 2013

Room In vs Nursery

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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  1. Great article Whitney! My daughter went to the nursery at night when we were in the hospital…the first evening she was gagging a lot on fluid which freaked me out, so I sent her with the nurses. We were only at the hospital a couple nights longer and I just kept sending her back at night because I was so exhausted and worried I wouldn’t hear her cry!

    When we have our second, I’d love to room in, though. I feel much better equipped to deal with an infant now I’ve had practice, and no longer worry about things like not waking up to a baby’s cry. Additionally, I found that by the time the nurses brought my daughter from the nursery to be fed, she was often very upset and it took awhile to calm her down. I’d like to spare future kids that experience!


    • Thank you, Laura! I will admit, I’ve been super nervous about my first article for MAP.
      Gagging always scares. I think next time, we’ll room in too. I’m hoping they will sleep longer than the every three hours at night. Maybe rooming in will help. Although I do tend to freak out about my milk supply dropping, and the nurses will still come in to check on vitals. We’ll see what happens!


  2. I typed in with both of my girls and am glad I did.:) I’m due to have our third baby in about a week and I’ll be rooming with him as well. I think it’s so much easier especially since we exclusively breastfeed.:)


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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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