I’ve seen a lot of articles circulating lately about babies rooming in with parents during their hospital stay. While I think it’s awesome that this is an available option, I’d be lying if I said that this is an option that we go with. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely cannot wait to meet Bubbles. The past thirty-five weeks has been long and I’m just dying to get to know our gal on dry land. But my last hospital experience really cemented the fact that we feel it’s best for our family to send our babies to the nursery at night during our hospital stay.
I’ve read the benefits of having the baby right next to you, at all times forever and ever. I’m no stranger to Dr. Sears and much of that train of thought. And I respect it as a great option for many families. I also know there are going to be people who totally judge us for this. There are even some who might go as far to say that those of us who utilize the nursery must not love our babies because we’re so quick to send them away at night (seriously, a friend of mine recently read an article that said that very thing!).
While I try to be open to other opinions, that statement, to me, is a completely irrational standpoint and really extreme. So I preface this by saying, if you’re going to look at it in such a blatantly black-and-white way, it’s quite likely that you won’t get much out of this post besides a lot of eye rolls and a new-found disdain for me and my heartless ways. But I’m not sorry.
Last time around, A was born at 9:46pm and we didn’t even get into our final room until after 1am (in most cases, our hospital has you give birth in one room and then move to a different room for the remainder of your stay). We immediately went to bed after spending the entire day laboring. And by went to bed, I mean that J passed out almost immediately and I sat up and drove myself crazy listening to each perfect little breath and peep that A made (and babies are noisy!).
After a good hour of this, our nurse came in because it was time for A to have a feeding. I was exhausted, sore, overwhelmed and my hormones were beginning the inevitable postpartum crashes. It was pretty clear to me in that moment that it was best for everyone involved that A go to the nursery for these reasons:
- Getting a little rest allows you to make the most of your time at the hospital- The time in the hospital a huge mix of hormones and emotions. There’s a major learning curve, especially for first time parents. Sending A to the nursery at night allowed me to get at least a little bit of rest between feeds so that I’d be able to have some energy to spend our days at the hospital learning from the nurses (they are such an amazing resource in all things newborn!), getting the hang of breastfeeding and most importantly, getting to know our sweet girl.
- Having medical professionals readily available helped ease my new-mommy anxiety- Being that we were in the hospital meant that when A was in the nursery, she was under the watchful eye of qualified medical professionals. Every nurses and doctor that we came in contact with was incredibly professional and full of knowledge about infant care. In addition to teaching us so much in those couple of days, it put my mind at ease knowing that A was being watched over by people who were well-qualified to give her the best possible care so that I could recharge.
- We were able to be a bit more prepared for the long road ahead once returning home- Sometimes people forget that when you leave hospital, it’s game-on. There’s no one to bring food, change diapers, help you when the baby won’t latch and you’re nipples are screaming in pain. It’s all up to you and Daddy (and if you’re lucky, some helpful friends and family will stop by to help out a little). You won’t be able to buzz for a nurse if have a question or are freaking out about the peep your sweet baby made. To sum it up, shit gets real. You’re thrust right into the thick of it and you’re going to handle it a lot better if your tank isn’t on empty by the time you arrive home.
- It’s not a contest to see who can run themselves through the mud the hardest- Does that sound harsh? I don’t intend for it to come off that way. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, which continues to be the refrain of motherhood, it’s that you don’t get a medal for being a martyr. Allowing yourself to get a little rest when there are qualified professionals available to care for your baby is really not a bad thing. It certainly doesn’t make you a bad parent or mean that you love your baby any less. Which brings me to my last point…
- You also need to take care of you- Yes, we all make many, many sacrifices for our children. This just comes with the territory of being a parent and for the most part I actually enjoy sacrificing certain things to accommodate the season of life that our family is in. But that doesn’t mean that you stop caring for yourself and lose yourself and every other aspect of your life in being a parent. That’s not healthy for you or your baby. Bottom line: Your baby will be much better off if mom and dad are healthy and happy as well.
Now I’m not telling you to treat your hospital stay as a vacation. We certainly didn’t have A spend her entire hospital stay in the nursery. On the contrary, she was with us the majority of the time. But I found that utilizing the nursery to be able to get a little bit of rest before diving into the thick of it at home allowed me to recover from the huge medical-event-that-is-childbirth and be a better, more present mom to our sweet new baby, especially once we got home. This is just what works for our family.
Moms and Dads- did you room-in during your hospital stay or did you send your baby to the nursery?
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