As your pregnancy progresses and you start to consider where you want to give birth, there is a unique healthcare provider who can really enhance the birth experience for you. And that is a mother-baby nurse.

As you tour birthing facilities, ask if they have mother-baby nurses caring for women and their babies.

The benefits of mother-baby care

Having the care of a mother-baby nurse is not the same as what some facilities call “rooming-in,” where the mother is expected to care for her baby when the infant is with her. Mother-baby nurses care for both mother and baby at the mother’s bedside, and they nurture bonding and attachment in the new family.

There are many benefits for the family with mother-baby nursing:

You get better communication with your healthcare team. Since the same nurse takes care of both you and your baby, communication with your whole healthcare team is improved. If there is an obstetrician and a pediatrician, they both work with the same nurse rather than with two separate nurses.

You get your questions answered quicker. In most hospitals, if you have a question about your baby, you’re likely to hear “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the nursery nurse.” Or the mother’s nurse will go to the nursery nurse to obtain the answer. With mother-baby nursing, your mother-baby nurse can answer you immediately.

You get a closer relationship with your nurse. Because there are fewer nurses for you to interact with, you and your mother-baby nurse are more likely to develop a feeling of trust, caring and comfort.

You get more education. Your mother-baby nurse demonstrates baby care as she takes care of your infant at your bedside.

You won’t miss any special moments with your baby. When your baby spends most of its time in a nursery, you miss lots of those first glances, smiles, gurgles and coos. With mother-baby nursing, most infant care takes place in your room so that you can learn from and share those special moments.

You know your baby is receiving good care. Because the nurse cares for the baby in the your room, you never have to wonder if your baby is the one you hear crying in the nursery.

You and baby are safer. There is increased security. Nobody likes to think about it, but mother-baby nursing increases security by diminishing the number of opportunities someone has to kidnap your baby. With your baby in your room with you, it’s not spending time traveling between your room and the nursery.

Having a mother-baby nurse reduces the number of people caring for a family and makes the appearance of strangers more obvious.

Mother-baby nursing especially makes sense for new families. When you receive education about your baby at your bedside, you leave the hospital more confident in your parenting skills.

As you decide where to give birth, inquire about mother-baby nursing and talk with the nurses about how they provide care for new mothers and babies. This is your opportunity to have greater involvement in your baby’s care and strengthen the bonding and attachment with your new baby.



Celeste R. Phillips, RN, MSN, EdD, is president of Phillips and Fenwick Inc., The Women's Health Care Consulting Company and a passionate expert and advocate on mother-baby nursing and care.

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