Local hospitals are phasing out nurseries in maternity wards

Nelsy Avendano cradles her newborn son, Kevin Loaiza-Avendano, on her hospital bed inside her room at Boston Medical Center.
Nelsy Avendano cradles her newborn son, Kevin Loaiza-Avendano, on her hospital bed inside her room at Boston Medical Center. –Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe

The idyllic scene of rows of newborn babies behind the glass of a hospital nursery window is already becoming rare in Boston, and could become a thing of the past, The Boston Globe reported.

Hospitals across the country — including Mass. General and Boston Medical Center — are phasing out access to nurseries, instead adopting “rooming-in’’ policies, in which healthy newborns stay in the mother’s room, the Globe reported. Some say the move helps to boost mother-child bonding, kickstart parenting skills, and prevent postpartum depression, while others argue that a few hours of rest is crucial for the women.

The state’s Department of Health still requires hospitals to maintain well-baby nurseries, but not all staff them consistently, the Globe reported. As they’ve downsized, it’s also become a nurse’s responsibility to determine whether a mother has reached her breaking point with the newborn, and to find the balance between what’s best for the baby and best for the patient.

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“Competent patients have the right to make decisions on behalf of themselves and their babies,’’ Carol Sakala, the director of childbirth connection programs at the National Partnership for Woman and Families, told the Globe.

Read the full Globe story here.

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