A new policy is being implemented in hospitals across the country that is said to encourage bonding between newborns and their mothers. It's known as the "baby friendly" initiative, however, parents have already started pushing back against it, arguing that it's not very "mom friendly."
Many hospitals have started doing away with their nurseries. Instead of taking newborns off to the nursery after birth, they are to stay in the hospital room with their mothers, except for in urgent circumstances.
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Lori Pugsley, the newborn family units nursing director at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the 355 hospitals in the U.S. who have put this idea into practice, explained the reasoning behind it, saying, "The research is abundant, and it shows... keeping a mom and baby together in a room really creates an environment that's the healthiest for the baby and the healthiest for the mothers." This around-the-clock contact helps to encourage breastfeeding and overall bonding between mother and child.
While this sounds great in theory, some new moms have expressed frustration with the toll this system has taken on them.
Christiane Boezio, a mom who delivered her child in a "baby friendly" hospital, told TODAY.com, "I asked the nurse if she would take him to the nursery for a few hours so my husband and I could get some sleep, and she said no. That it was policy that the baby stay in the room." She had been in labor for 48 hours and hadn't slept in days, and desperately needed some shut-eye in order to be able to care for her new son and her toddler at home. Keeping the baby in her hospital room in spite of these circumstances, she said, was bad for her health and her mental state.
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While some parents obviously have problems with this program, others have fully embraced it. They love having close proximity to the child right away, and appreciate the support it lends their breastfeeding efforts. But while many experts fully endorse this "baby friendly" plan, others believe that new moms should be able to choose for themselves whether or not their newborns stay with them.
Amy Tuteur, an OB-GYN trained at Harvard University, believes that requiring newborns to stay in the same room as their mothers is good news for breastfeeding advocates, but it's not necessarily better for the mothers themselves. She said, "If the mother wants to send the baby to the nursery, then she should have the choice to do that. Absolutely women should have support in breastfeeding. But if a woman decides that it's not for her, it's not for us to tell her she has to do it."
What do you think of the "baby friendly" approach?
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