Lynchburg, VA - Virginia Baptist Hospital no longer offers a traditional nursery to its patients. The reason is to boost breast-feeding rates.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends continuous "rooming in" day and night to establish successful breastfeeding. That means parents will have their newborn in their room constantly, unless mother or baby is sick.
"We don't have a 'well' nursery anymore, because well moms and well babies need to be together," said Kim Price.
Comments have been flooding the WSET Facebook page about how our viewers feel about losing the nursery at Virginia Baptist Hospital.
April Lynn Lehmann commented, "I think it's ridiculous! It was nice to have my babies in the room with me all day but it was also nice to get a little rest at night, knowing they were taken care of and have them brought to me when needed. You get two days of help before you are on your own."
In Chad Reeves' opinion, "When you become parents you shouldn't mind if you're awakened by your child. News flash, nobody is gonna take your newborn to the nursery when you get home. And yes before you ask, I am a daddy and we kept my daughter in the room with us 24 hours a day till we left."
Director of Women and Children's Services, Kim Price, said the hospital was seeing low success rates for breastfeeding and made the change to try to improve that. She said "rooming in" is backed by lots of research.
"What they have learned through all this research is when you stay with your baby your sleep rhythms actually get coordinated, so you get more rest if that baby is in the room with you, it works better," said Price.
The hospital is one of 93 selected by the "Best Fed Initiative," an organization that works with the Centers for Disease Control to improve breastfeeding rates all over the United States.
"The baby and you learn the feeding cues. So you learn when the baby is hungry and when you need to feed it and when you don't need to feed it and when it sleeps, so what all this research is showing is that everything works better when mom stays with baby," said Price.
"Rooming in" is one of ten steps The Best Fed Initiative directs hospitals to follow in order to achieve the status of "Baby Friendly" Hospitals. Other steps include prenatal education, discouraging pacifiers until breastfeeding is established, and staff education.
"This is a nationwide thing every hospital in the country will eventually not have a well nursery because all the research is saying that's not what you do anymore, you need to keep those moms and babies together," said Price.
Virginia Baptist said they still have a procedure room for specific medical needs like observation, circumcision, and lab work. They also have a transitional nursery for when mother or baby is sick.
They encourage mothers to plan for a care partner to come with them and stay at the hospital and said this rooming in method better prepares parents to bring a baby home.
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