With your baby’s due date fast approaching, you’re in a hurry to prepare for your precious little one’s arrival. This involves choosing a hospital, and one factor that can influence your decision is whether you want to choose rooming-in or not.
If you’re on the fence around rooming-in or just need more information about it, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of this postpartum practice and provide tips to make your experience successful.
But first, let’s start with the basics: What is rooming-in?
Rooming-in: What is it?
Simply put, rooming-in means that after you give birth, your baby stays in your room instead of going to the nursery.
Each hospital has different practices and procedures, but they can offer two types of rooming-in: full rooming-in or partial rooming-in.
As the name suggests, full rooming-in means your baby is with you in your room 24/7. All their exams, tests and care also take place in your room, provided there are no mitigating circumstances.
Meanwhile, partial rooming-in typically means your baby will be with you during the day but sleeping in the nursery at night.
Keep in mind that if your baby needs special medical attention or is in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), room accommodation may not be an option or it may look a little different. It is always a good idea to talk to your hospital to understand your options in advance.
Choosing where you give birth and the care you and your baby receive afterwards is a personal decision, and room-in is simply one of the options. To help you decide if it’s right for you, we’ll share a few of the benefits below.
Benefits of Rooming-In
Rooming-in allows you to get to know your new baby while you recover, and there are a few specific ways this can benefit you both. Let’s see.
Breastfeeding is easier
If you have already decided to breastfeed your baby, rooming-in can make things easier. It gives you access to your baby so you can breastfeed whenever you want and for as long as you want.
When your baby is in the room with you, it is easier to breastfeed more often. And more frequent breastfeeding can help increase your breast milk production.
Overall, rooming-in can enhance the nursing experience while you are in the hospital.
You learn your baby’s signals
Once your baby is in the room with you, you have a seat in the front row to begin to get to know their behaviors and all their habits. Your newborn may not communicate verbally with you yet, but they will give signals if they are stressed, ready for a nap or have a hungry stomach.
For example, they may show signs of hunger by rummaging or opening their little mouth, or they may be extra fussy if they have a gas bubble to release.
When you go home, you will continue to learn about your baby and their behavior, but rooming-in gives you a head start.
It is easier to attach ties to your baby
Another benefit of rooming-in is that it is easier to attach ties to your baby. You will have more time with your newborn and more options for cuddling, cuddling and skin-to-skin contact (or SSC for short).
What is skin-to-skin contact? Also called kangaroo care, skin-to-skin contact is the period immediately after birth where you hold your baby directly on your bare breast. This immediate contact provides all sorts of short- and long-term benefits.
But beyond that initial contact, it’s a good idea to make SSC a regular part of your newborn’s life. For more information on the benefits and how to proceed, click here.
You gain confidence as a parent
As we mentioned, rooming-in gives you more opportunities to get to know your baby’s behavior and signals. Knowing how your baby expresses needs and what you can do to meet them can boost your confidence as a new parent.
More contact with your child gives you so much more experience dealing with and caring for them, which can help you gain confidence when you are discharged and going home.
The last potential benefit we will mention is one important one: better sleep.
It may seem counterintuitive that having a newborn in your room can give you better sleep, but the fact is that you are likely to sleep the same amount or even get better sleep with your baby nearby.
As a parent, you will probably have more peace of mind and less stress if you can keep an eye on your newborn. Being together can also help your little one develop their sleep-wake cycle.
Accommodation tips for parents
1) Talk to the hospital in advance
Because each hospital is different, it is important to check with hospital staff about their specific rooming-in procedures and policies to determine if what they are offering is right for you and your baby. This information can help you choose a hospital or maternity ward if you have not already done so.
Whether they offer partial rooming-in, full rooming-in or both, it is a good idea to ask questions to understand your options and when you will be able to see your baby.
This is especially important now, given that some policies may have changed in the light of recent events and may change again in the future.
2) Go prepared
Whatever room option you choose to go with, make sure you are prepared! Pack your hospital bag well in advance with baby care items and things that keep you comfortable during and after labor pains.
As a parent, much of your focus is on your little one, but also remember to take good care of yourself. To see a complete list of things to put in your hospital bag, click here.
In the meantime, here are a few things we recommend, including:
- A copy of your birth plan
- Something to wear during the birth
- Your mobile phone and charger
- Snacks and water
- Your pillow
- A nursing dress and bra
- A bathrobe
- Nipple cream
Micellar water for quick cleaning
Cloths to remove your makeup
For a natural nipple cream, reach for our Nursing Comfort Balm, a soothing and restorative formula that keeps your skin comfortable while you care.
Made with 100% naturally derived ingredients, this cream is enriched with vitamin E, olive oil and plant-based glycerin to nourish, protect and moisturize your skin.
Our vegan, lanolin-free, perfume-free and dye-free formula has a neutral smell and taste and does not stain your clothes.
And this Nursing Comfort Balm is backed by scientific research, developed in collaboration with healthcare professionals and tested under dermatological control. It has been proven safe for expectant mothers, new mothers and babies.
Like all Mustela products, it is also free of questionable ingredients, such as parabens, phthalates and phenoxyethanol.
To use this rich cream, apply it generously on your nipples after feeding. There is no need to rinse. Just be sure to clean your nipples before each breastfeeding session.
3) Be flexible
As a parent, the name of the game is flexibility! Just as you need flexibility when it comes to sticking to a birth plan, you may also need to be flexible with your choice of being accommodated.
The birth does not always go as planned, and you may also need to follow what happens in the hours and days after the birth.
4) Support your partner
If your partner is the one giving birth, be prepared to play the role of cheerleader and supporter – not only during the birth, but also in the days after.
After the baby is born, your partner will be exhausted, master breastfeeding and heal. Take care of them in addition to caring for your brand new baby.
For Room-In or not for Room-In, that’s the question
You’ve read about rooming-in and the benefits it can bring you and your new little one. Only you know what the best decision is for your family and your baby, but if you choose to stay overnight, remember the tips we mentioned above.
Talk to the hospital beforehand, go prepared with a hospital bag and all your must-haves (including Nursing Comfort Balm), be flexible and support each other like new parents!
To room-in or not to room-in is just one of the many decisions you will make as a future and newlywed parent. Now that you know more about it, the choice is entirely up to you!