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Title: Myths vs. Reality: Rooming-In & Couplet Care
by SSHMaternity on 10/29/2014 at 1:05 PM

South Shore Hospital recently rolled out changes in maternity care practice with Rooming-In and Couplet Care—which resulted in lots of attention, engagement and questions. We would like to address some of the questions and concerns you sent us.

Couplet Care is a change in maternity nursing practice. It allows for mom and baby to be cared for one-on-one by the same nurse for the entire shift. Nurses will be assigned 3 to 4 mother and baby “couplets” per shift, allowing for personalized and complete care.

Rooming-In is a strongly encouraged practice allowing for the new baby to be with the family 24/7 while in the hospital. While the baby is in the room and not in the nursery, it does not mean mom is providing care without support. The nurse may be called whenever assistance is needed. Rooming-In has been proven healthier for both mom and baby, and is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), World Health Organization and UNICEF, among most other maternity and pediatric professional organizations.

MYTH: Rooming-In is required for all mothers delivering at South Shore Hospital.

FACT: Rooming-In is strongly encouraged, and is now the standard of care at most hospitals in Eastern Massachusetts. There is nothing healthier for new babies than to be together with their moms in the earliest days of life.  However, moms are still in charge of their own care and that of their babies, so patient choice, medical considerations and other factors may not allow for Rooming-In during the entire duration of your hospital stay.

MYTH: South Shore Hospital is closing its nursery.

FACT: South Shore Hospital is NOT closing its nursery. The nursery is still open and available for those circumstances when babies need to be cared for in the nursery and not in the mom’s room.

MYTH:  Rooming-In means mothers don’t get support in caring for their baby.

FACT: Rooming-In does not mean that you and your family are left alone to care for your new baby. Rooming-In, combined with the Couplet Care nursing practice, actually provides more support and a better transition home for the new or expanded family. Moms and families will receive valuable one-on-one care from their nurse, who, if moms and families wish, will be available for feedings and diaper changes as needed. The nurse is also able to teach new families valuable infant care practices, including soothing, bathing, changing, swaddling and feeding.

Additionally, we are moving toward having nursing assessments, pediatrician assessments, vital signs, weights, hearing screening, medication administration and labs performed in the room with families present—reducing stress on both babies and parents.

MYTH: Rooming-In means less rest for moms.

FACT: Research actually shows the opposite, that both mom and baby sleep better while in the same room. Traditionally at South Shore Hospital moms have fed babies throughout the night and Rooming-In makes this easier.

MYTH:  Moms will not be given time to recover from labor or C-sections.

FACT: The health of mother and baby are a priority for everyone in the Maternity Division. Our nurses work one-on-one with mothers and families to make sure mothers recover safely from the birth experience. For example, women who have had a C-section are not expected to lift, bend or move unsafely, and are given 100% support and assistance from the nursing staff.

MYTH: Rooming-In is stressful for moms.

FACT: Research shows the opposite, that Rooming-In reduces moms’ stress. Mothers and families who keep their babies in the room at the hospital, bond more easily, learn more about the baby’s normal responses and sleep-wake cycle, and are more confident about caring for the infant on their own when they go home.

Research also shows, a baby who stays with mom and family will cry less, maintain a more stable body temperature, and stay healthier.

MYTH: South Shore Hospital is the only hospital in the area encouraging Rooming-In.

FACT: Most Boston-area hospitals encourage Rooming-In including Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Tobey Hospital, Cape Cod Hospital, Falmouth Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Tufts Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Good Samaritan Medical Center.

MYTH: South Shore Hospital has a ‘no-pacifier’ policy.

FACT: South Shore Hospital does not supply pacifiers to healthy, full-term babies; however they can be brought from home or purchased in the hospital’s Friendly Shop and used at the parents discretion. Best practices shows not using pacifiers in the first few days of life helps parents learn newborn sounds and feeding cues. Whether breastfeeding or formula-feeding, pacifiers are not recommended until the baby is about a month old, so that feeding schedules and cues are firmly established. We continue to provide pacifiers for medically-necessary procedures such as circumcisions and heel sticks, as needed.

We encourage you to leave a comment on this blog post, or on the SSH Babies Facebook page and we will continue to work to address your questions and concerns.  Thank you very much for your engagement with us and allowing us the opportunity to communicate important information about our Maternity programs and services.

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Comment posted by SSHMaternity on 11/04/2014 at 8:01 AM
Hi JD75 - Thank you for your comment, we appreciate the feedback. Helping our moms recover safely from all birth experiences, including C-sections, is a top priority, and treatment plans can indeed include use of the nursery—nightly or otherwise. If you have continued concerns, please call (781) 624-8000 to speak directly with our maternity division manager or director. Thank you again for your feedback!
Comment posted by JD75 on 10/30/2014 at 6:57 AM
I see the benefits of mom and baby together as much as possible which is what I opted for with my other 2 deliveries. That being said could you please consider the option of continuing to allow mothers the choice to send baby to the nursery overnight if they need sleep? I remember opting for this to rest post-op before returning home. Baby was brought in for feedings as I was exclusively breast feeding and wanted to make sure he did not have formula overnight. In doing some research, I noted that BIMC-Plymouth/Jordan hospital promotes couplet care as well, but also open the nursery during the overnight hours so that moms may still opt to send baby to be cared for over night. I think this a great idea. What will you do in the cases where moms have c-sections and cannot get up and out of bed right away to get to baby. Realistically nurses may be busy and not able to respond immediately. Additionally in previous C-section deliveries I was not able (per the nurses and rightly so) to keep baby in overnight unless my husband was present in order to assist me in/out of bed. He will not be able to stay nights due to other children at home. I am very concerned about this change and it is making me worried about my experience to come in March. I am "locked" in to SSH due to my OB exclusively delivering there, or I would consider a change to Jordan hospital (though less convenient location wise). Please respond to this anxious mama. Thanks!
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