by Lisa Fogarty
Baby nurses and other medical professionals who work with newborns are supposed to be absolute experts on how to care for our little ones. When we give birth in a hospital, some of us -- especially those of us who were nervous first-time mommies (I'm guilty) -- look to these pros for advice and comfort. So what would you say if you found out your newborn had spent the first day or two of his life in the nursery with scotch tape over his mouth? And no, not because docs have discovered some breakthrough health benefit of bonding a child's lips with tape -- but because your poor baby had the nerve to...get ready for it...cry.
A couple from the Phillipines is LIVID because this exact, unbelievable situation happened to them after their son was born. A nurse at the hospital basically put a plastic tape muzzle on the child because, in her words, he was "too noisy." When mom asked her to remove it, the nurse reportedly told her she could take it off herself. She did -- but also accidentally ripped part of her baby's delicate lip skin, as well.
If your immediate thought is, oh well, that wouldn't happen in my hospital, I hope you're right, of course. But how sure can we be that our babies are getting the care they deserve when they're out of our sight for hours at a time?
Before giving birth to my son a few weeks ago, I discovered that my hiospital's policy on babies staying in the nursery was...well, a little odd. They basically discouraged any use of the nursery and urged moms to "room in" with their babies so that we could more readily bond with them (and I'm guessing this was also their not-so-subtle way of reminding us we should breastfeed).
At first, I was outraged -- outraged! I wanted to sleep at night and thought it was my right to do so after having experienced the pains of labor and delivery. But I wasn't about to rock the cradle, so to speak, so I shut my mouth and kept my baby by my side the entire time.
And rooming in proved SO much better than leaving him in the care of others overnight. There wasn't one second where I worried about him or wondered if a nurse was leaving him to cry or picking him up to provide him with comfort. As soon as he felt a hunger pang, I was there for him. I got to know his cries and the sounds he made while fast asleep.
I'm not naturally a distrustful person, but when you hear horror stories from other parents, a part of you thinks, why take that risk? At the end of the day, we care about our children more than any outsider ever will. There are a great many amazing nurses and medical professionals who treat your baby like one of their own, but the thought of there being even one who wouldn't treat him well makes me a super-strong advocate for rooming in with baby.
Did you room in with your baby or trust the medical professionals at your hospital's nursery?