Rooming-in maternity myths uncovered

October 16, 2014 By Rose Vitale, B.S., RNC

Over the past decade, “rooming-in” has become standard of care for most maternity units nationwide. The concept has become popular with increased promotion and recognized value of bonding and breastfeeding. Nonetheless, there are also myths about rooming-in that warrant explanation.

Myth #1: “I will get less sleep if my baby is with me.” Studies show mothers get more sleep with their babies in the room. Babies sleep better and cry less when with their mother. Limiting visitors also promotes rest periods for the family. Many hospitals have adopted an optional “Quiet Time” program which promote rest time for parents during specific times.

Myth #2: “Rooming-in only benefits mothers who are breastfeeding.” No matter what your feeding choice is, spending time getting to know your baby is a key to bonding and learning hunger cues. Holding your baby skin-to-skin is important for successful breastfeeding and is the most effective way to comfort your newborn.

Myth #3: “It takes less staff to care for mom and baby together.” On the contrary, nursing units that provide mother-baby couplet care usually care for fewer patients than units that provide separate care. Educating parents on infant care, feeding, and comforting is time well spent and very important for each family unit.

Myth #4: “Rooming-in does not allow mothers who are exhausted to get the rest needed to heal.” Maternity nurses are trained to recognize signs of maternal exhaustion and facilitate uninterrupted time to sleep for the mothers. Studies have shown rest is an important factor in the healing process. Most maternity units have an observation nursery used to care for babies when mom requests a rest period for herself.

Caring for your infant in the comfort of your hospital room will help you successfully learn your infant's personality and promote family bonding from the start.

Rose Vitale, B.S., RNC, works at the Family BirthPlace Unit at The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC), New Britain General campus. HOCC provides rooming-in on its Family BirthPlace unit and now offers a Quiet Time program. To learn more about Family BirthPlace, call 860.224.5566. For referrals to HOCC physicians, please contact our free Need-A-Physician referral service by phone at 800.321.6244.