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Rooming In

(50 Posts)
Lesley76 Tue 17-Feb-04 15:03:26

I've just been to third antenatal class at hospital where they were informing us of the hospital practices post natally. They said that even on the "high dependancy" ward ( where you go if you have a section or instrumental delivery) they practice a policy of "rooming in". Which at this hospital means that the mum is completely responsible for the care of the baby. They will not help you with BF or caring for the baby in any way. If you want to have a bath or shower you must choose to go into a 4 bedded bay and get one of the other mums to care for your baby. Or wait until visiting until someone comes in and you can get them to "do a bit of babysitting"!!!!

All they will do is the post natal checks on mum and baby which are a legal requirement ( and I assume that the community midwife does if you are home?) . And the paediatrician will check the baby on the day you leave.

Is this the normal interpretation of "rooming in"? In that case, apart from the provision of pain relief ( if you are lucky), there seems little point in being in hospital post natally ( assuming your baby is well). At least at home the food is better and you can have bath when you want!! And you can phone someone for advice with BF etc? Or am I missing something???

Slinky Tue 17-Feb-04 15:33:44

Crikey - "rooming-in" was slightly different in my hospital!

I had a forceps delivery with No 1 at my local GP-led maternity unit. I couldn't have wished for a better level of care - midwives would look after baby if I needed a shower/bath. They insisted on looking after her if she cried whilst I ate my meals.

With No 2, he was born at a hospital 25 mins away which was far busier and although the staff were still lovely, they were far too busy. If you wanted a shower/bath, then you left the baby by your bed. I transferred more or less straight back to my "lovely" local unit.

No 3 was born in my local unit again - again looked after her when I was having a bath/shower and when DD2 was having problems latching on - one midwife stayed AN HOUR after her shift finished to help me!!

I can't believe they won't help you with breastfeeding!!! - that's just shocking! I thought they wanted to improve the UK's breastfeeding rates - hardly going to happen if the staff aren't prepared to spend time helping!

Had I not had the option of transferring back to my local unit after my 2nd child was born, then I would have gone straight home.

prettycandles Tue 17-Feb-04 15:34:49

I have never heard of such a thing! I know it happens in hospitals where wards are understaffed, but as a policy? At UCH, where I had both of mine, I had help with everything. Sometimes I had to ask, but often enough I didn't and sometimes didn't even want the help - the breastfeeding help was particularly useless, but at least they tried. If you want to go to this hospital - and you don't have to commit to any particular hospital, you know - why not get in touch with a breastfeeding counsellor, and see if you can find one who will visit you as soon as possible after the baby is born to help you get started?

BTW, even in my ward, attentive staff, security tags and all, I only left the baby to have a shower when my family visited.

zebra Tue 17-Feb-04 15:38:24

I think I agree with the interpretation of "little point of being in hospital post-natally!" I thought that was encouraged mostly for women with older children at home, in which case the hospital time would be a break from mothering many.

I just left the baby to sleep while I went for a shower. And most of the midwives were willing to give some help with breastfeeding, are you sure they mean "no support" on breastfeeding?

Out of curiousity, what pain relief were you expecing post-natally? Because I never heard of it... Morphine if it's a C-section, maybe??

Galaxy Tue 17-Feb-04 15:38:59

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wobblyknicks Tue 17-Feb-04 15:42:18

zebra - in the hospital I gave birth in, women are offered pain killers if they want them, which was a huge help to me because I had three tears (which apparently weren't worth stitching but I think they should have been) and they caused me agony. Having the odd pain killer here and there really helped.

Blu Tue 17-Feb-04 15:47:45

Ah, well, now I understand the policy in the post-natal ward at Kings. I wept with exhaustion all night in the TV room to stop my poor bruised-headed baby waking the other woman in my room, and the MWs chatted away and offered no help. I was finally allowed to leave DS in a store cupboard by the MW's station while I had a shower. I begged for latching-on advice all day, and 8 hours later a MW rushed past grabbed DS's head, thrust him against my nipple and disappeared without speaking. It also explains why the bell by my bed didn't even work. However I took rooming in to mean my DP could stay overnight with me...which he did as soon as I made a big enough fuss to be put in a room of my own and no-one even noticed that he stayed 3 nights!Of course there is a point to staying in: the peads come round, frighten you to death about jaundice and try to force you to feed formula as a way of curing it.

Lesley76 Tue 17-Feb-04 15:55:02

Re help with BF - Apparently they will show you how to get the baby latched on in the labour suite after delivery, then its up to you.

This maternity unit is attached to a children's hospital and the practice there is that the parents care for the child, so I suppose its part of the whole hospital policy. If you cannot provide round the clock care for your child they are mostly left to cry. The staff only provide medical or nursing care. If the parent needs to eat, shower, go to the loo etc you have to find another parent to care for your child.

I don't think this is related to being short staffed as it happens even when there are plenty of staff. I have watched half a dozen nurses sit picnicking at the nursing station while children scream in their cots. Apparently its just not part of their job.I guess thats why its the same in the maternity unit.

Lesley76 Tue 17-Feb-04 15:59:37

Oh yes, about the security tags. They have a habit of falling off apparently so its the mum's job ( since she has nothing else to do) to ensure that they stay on the baby. Sounds a pretty good system to me!!!!

motherinferior Tue 17-Feb-04 16:27:06

Sounds completely appalling. I'm so sorry.

Zebra, I necked down painkillers after my first ventouse/episiotomy, and ditto after my second birth and tear.

No help with breastfeeding? Are they TRYING to cut down on breastfeeding rates locally or something?

Seethe rant rant rant.

Bozza Tue 17-Feb-04 16:55:29

Personally the fact that there is "little point being in hospital psot-natally" is why I am planning a home-birth. I was administerd pain killers after DS but think DH could have got some paracetomol (thats what they gave me) out of the cabinet at home just as well. I just don't think its worth one journey while in labour and one journey while very stiff/sore post-natally to bother going to hospital.

With DS they gave some sporadic help with breast feeding but the rest of it was up to me. I really do feel I would receive a better standard of care from DH.

Blu Tue 17-Feb-04 17:14:39

Bozza - and more sleep, the lights off, no-one barging in at 5.30 a.m with gnarled old plastic jug of stale water, clean bath/shower, no parade of other people's visitors staring at your gaping nightie, ....

twiglett Tue 17-Feb-04 17:19:25

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Lesley76 Tue 17-Feb-04 17:33:17

Oh I forget - the advice on Bf was to feed the baby after delivery and if it got a good feed of colostrum then it wouldn't need fed for 8 or 9 hours "if you are lucky". Some mums who are "unlucky" get babies who need to feed for an hour every two hours but if this happens to you, just relax and it will be OK.

Just telling you what the MW said!!!!!!!!!

twiglett Tue 17-Feb-04 17:35:23

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chickpea Tue 17-Feb-04 17:49:54

Hello all apologies in advance for butting in on your thread.


Had my first at home and second in hospital as she was breech. Even with second I had her just before midnight and was out of there by 9.00am the next morning. Health visiters can help a lot and if you are lucky enough to have family around then they are surely preferable to that horendous scenario you described below!!

If you can consider it then really do it.

ANGELMOTHER Tue 17-Feb-04 18:19:17

Bloody Heck sounds like the hospital from hell.
Ditto Chickpea, I had a home birth 5 months ago and I was asleep in bed with my dh, dd1 & dd2 at 10:30 baby born at 8:30. My Mum was staying and I was waited on hand and foot for a whole week (then she went home )
What you describe sounds third world

WideWebWitch Tue 17-Feb-04 18:36:04

It sounds awful. Sorry no advice though. Other than consider home? Bozza, glad to hear you're still feeling positive about home, great!

Slinky Tue 17-Feb-04 20:12:07


It sounds absolutely awful and they're talking a load of b******!!

I would rather give birth at the bottom of my garden than in that hospital!!

NONE of my babies have ever latched on in the delivery suite - none of them have shown any interest in feeding at that point. Particularly DD1 as I'd had pethidine only a few hours before her birth, she was quite sleepy and however much I tried she just wasn't interested until a good few hours later!

And not feeding for 8/9 hours????!!!! B****dy hell, it took my lot a good few months before they were going 8/9 hours.

Sorry, Lesley - just reading this, it sounds like I'm getting at you - of course I'm not, just b****dy livid at the advice given by your hospital!

Have a home birth

bobthebaby Tue 17-Feb-04 20:24:35

Wow, these sound terrible. I think it's awful that the hospital has used the term "rooming in" which is supposed to be a positive thing to basically protect any of it's staff from having to do any work. There is a mid ground between letting mum get on with it to help with bonding etc. and just being plain mean.

I didn't actually realise that anyone would help me in hospital in NZ. There were only 3 of us in the birthing unit so the midwife had plenty of time, but they kept their distance except to say hello at the start of a shift and goodbye at the end. However, they always knew exactly how much I had eaten, when my baby had fed, that I'd showered etc. I knew all this because it was in my notes afterwards. Every shift it said "mum and dad managing independantly". We changed every nappy and did our first bath alone - but because we wanted to.

The only time we were pushed was to ensure I fed my sleepy baby enough to bring my milk in. This is why I can't believe they won't help you with breastfeeding - if a baby starves is that not a potential medical problem?

If (and its still a big if) I had another one I would go to the birthing unit to use their lovely birthing pool, but after recovery, would go straight home. There is no point staying if you don't need what they provide - or in your case they don't provide anything worth staying for.

twiglett Tue 17-Feb-04 21:24:32

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aloha Tue 17-Feb-04 21:41:59

It is disgusting isn't it. I went to see my friend a few hours after giving birth and was shouted at for getting her lunch for her from a trolley miles down the other end of a corridor. I despair. Where do they get these monsters from?

coppertop Tue 17-Feb-04 21:54:15

When ds1 was born the MW's on the ward were understaffed and had no time for any help. Ds1 refused to feed at all but the MW's wouldn't take it seriously. It was also one of the hottest weeks of the year so I was worried about dehydration. Even when other mothers tried to intervene on my behalf and tell them that ds1 obviously wasn't well they still refused to do more than glance at him. He was born on a Sunday night and it was Wednesday morning before they really looked at him. They put a feeding tube in straight away and then spent the next 2hrs panicking because the on-call Paed was refusing to come down to examine ds1. How did they think WE'D been feeling???

When ds1 was eventually allowed to leave the SCBU the nurses refused to let him back on the ward again because they said they were worried that the MW's might neglect him again.

suedonim Tue 17-Feb-04 22:15:29

I'm shocked at these tales of post-natal care, I really am. Sounds more like neglect, to me. I wonder if such attitudes to PN care stem from the idea that giving birth is not an illness, therefore we should all being up and dancing the Conga within two hours??

Whilst there were lots of things I didn't like when two of my babies were born in hospital in the 1970's, at least new mums were nursed back to full strength and babies were taken care of until you felt able to look after them youself. I know when I had my dd1 after an 8yr gap, I was *horrified* to learn that I was expected to get up off the delivery bed, take a shower then get dressed in day clothes!!! Luckily I gave birth at night so didn't have to do that immediately. Such a contrast to being given a blanket bath and brought soup, toast and a cup of tea, which was my previous experience.

I believe we should be mothering the mother and quite honestly that just doesn't seem to be happening with these examples. I've never had a homebirth but I'd definitely be considering one in these circumstances.

mears Tue 17-Feb-04 22:53:44

Quite frankly Lesley76, what you have been told is a load of bollocks and I think you should send a letter of complaint to the Head of Midwifery.
That is not what rooming in is all about. The midwives have a duty of care to you in the hospital - that means assisting you with babycare when needed.
Rooming in means that the baby stays beside your bedside at all times which helps mother to get to know her baby better, improves feeding, reduces risk of infection and improves hospital security of baby.
If however, you need any assistance to care for your baby, you are entitled to have it. The midwife who gave you this information needs challenged.

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