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Benefits of Rooming-In

July 2020

As defined by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund, rooming-in is a “hospital practice where postnatal mothers and normal infants stay together in the same room for 24 hours a day from the time they arrive in their room after delivery”. (1)  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, operationalized this process to have mothers and infants stay together 23 out of 24 hours each day.  Initially, rooming-in was begun to promote and encourage early and frequent breastfeeding.  Crenshaw (2007) recommended rooming-in as a healthy birth practice. (2)

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Step 7 of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding states, “Practice rooming-in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.” (3) Although this is the US-based BFHI criteria, you should access your region, state, or country’s Baby-Friendly website for differences designed for your area.

In addition to promoting and supporting early and frequent breastfeeding, other benefits to rooming-in abound:

  • Increased patient satisfaction in their birth experience
  • Better sleep quality for both mother and infant
  • Increased maternal confidence in assessing early feeding and other cues from their newborn
  • Less parental stress when necessary procedures are performed in the room with teaching given about the reason for the procedure and how it is accomplished
  • Less issues with neonatal hypoglycemia, respiratory concerns, and low body temperature with mothers providing unlimited skin-to-skin care
  • Less infant crying
  • Better infant weight gain and decreased time to a copious maternal milk supply
  • Research suggests other long-term benefits such as decreased rates of child abuse, neglect, and abandonment

Does your facility practice a full rooming-in policy? Are infants removed from the room for procedures as simple as a blood draw? Why not offer a parent the opportunity to hold or even breastfeed during the procedure? It only involves a bit of education for the staff performing the procedure and assistance to the parents during the time the procedure takes. Fear of the unknown is usually greater than seeing that the baby does better in the arms of its parents.

Stay safe and keep up the great work.

Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, RN, IBCLC, FILCA CHC

Professional Development Educator

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https://www.step2education.com/
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References:

1. Theo, L.O. and Drake, E. (2017). Rooming-in: Creating a better experience. J Perinatal Education; 26(2): 79-84. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6353266/ 
2. Crenshaw, J. (2007). Care Practice #6: No separation of mother and baby, with unlimited opportunities for breastfeeding. J Perinatal Education; 16(3): 39-43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6353266/ 
3. Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. (2020). The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative: Interim guidelines and evaluation criteria for facilities seeking and sustaining Baby-Friendly designation. Downloaded from: https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/news/bfusa-releases-interim-guidelines-and-evaluation-criteria/

 

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Last Updated: September 2018