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Women & Infants’ New Model Puts Moms and Newborns in Same Room

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

 

A new program at Women & Infants will have moms and newborns rooming together.

On Tuesday, May 1st, Women & Infants Hospital will kick off a new model of care on the Mother/Baby Units. The focus is on keeping the baby, mom and her significant other together as soon and as much as possible following delivery of the baby.

“Our goal is help families get off to the best start possible, and we are confident that our new initiatives will do just that,” said Angelleen Peters-Lewis, RN, PhD, senior vice president for Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Women & Infants Hospital.  “The decision to implement this new model of care was based on the World Health Organization recommendations, as well as extensive research supporting skin-to-skin and rooming-in.”

Rooming in: moms and infants

One of the key components of this new model of care is a focus on rooming-in, which is keeping moms and babies together in one room throughout the postpartum hospital stay.  Nurses will continue to provide care for both mom and baby, and most care will take place directly in the postpartum room.  Babies may need to go to the nursery for a short period of time to have a hearing test, have a circumcision (if desired for boys), be examined by his or her doctor with special equipment in the nursery, or to let mom be cared for if she is not feeling well or allow staff to watch mom or the baby more closely.

Dr. Peters-Lewis said, “Our goal is that healthy mothers and babies will stay together in the same room, day and night, unless there are justifiable reasons for a longer separation.  We will be encouraging moms to refrain from having visitors during the first hour on the Mother/Baby unit so that she has time to settle in with her baby.  We are also encouraging the significant other to stay with mom as much as possible to help her.”

Rooming-in is supported by the World Health Organization and offers incredible benefits for mom and baby:

Benefits for baby:

Cries less, soothes more quickly

Spends more time in quiet sleep

Less likely to lose weight

Stable temperature

Less likely to become jaundiced

Improves breastfeeding

Benefits for mom:

Sense of well-being

Confidence as a new mother

Sensitivity to baby

Improves sleep – duration and quality

Reduces stress

Improves breastfeeding

Skin-to-skin care

Another key component to the new model of care is a focus on skin-to-skin care, when the baby is naked or wearing just a diaper and lays on mom’s bare chest with his or her head under her chin and face turned to the side.  Skin-to-skin care is the best way for the bonding experience to begin immediately after birth.  Following a gentle cesarean section or a vaginal delivery at Women & Infants Hospital, the baby is placed skin-to-skin with mom immediately (after a brief exam by the pediatric provider for cesarean births) in the delivery room.

“The mother’s skin acts as an all-natural incubator and ensures the baby is warm, allowing mother and baby to enjoy precious, early bonding moments, bypassing the time the baby would traditionally spend in the warmer,” said Marcia VanVleet, MD, MPH, director of the Newborn Nursery at Women & Infants Hospital.  “Skin-to-skin allows the baby to stay at an ideal temperature and regulate his or her breathing and heart rate using the least amount of energy, keeping calm and comfortable.  It is a wonderful way for new moms to bond with and sooth their baby.”

Once the mother recovers, the labor nurse brings mom and baby to her room on the Mother/Baby Units. There, the labor nurse, mother/baby nurse and mother all take a moment to discuss the plan of care and answer any questions the mother may have. The pediatric provider also conducts the baby’s first exam in the room within 24 hours.

“Women & Infants has long held a leadership role in advancing optimal maternal-child health,” said Dr. Peters-Lewis.  “We are very excited that ‘Where families begin’ will get all of our new moms and their babies off to a great start.”

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