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The condescension will continue until morale improves.

February 8, 2016

The latest in the “Of Course All Women Are Irresponsible Idiots” category of health care.

Women all over Massachusetts, where clearly new mothers are all selfish, drunk, and lazy, are now being informed, through the haze of hormonal blizzards, the fog of sleep deprivation, and the blinding realization “Oh, S#$@*, what have I done to my life!” that putting their newborn infants in the nursery for a few hours is, well, not allowed. Here’s the Boston Globe: (

Women seeking a few hours of rest after hours of labor or a caesarean section often are surprised to learn that Massachusetts hospitals are increasingly restricting nursery access or, in some states, have closed the nurseries altogether. In Boston, Boston Medical Center began widespread “rooming-in’’ years ago, Mass. General followed suit more recently, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is taking similar steps. They collectively deliver more than 11,000 babies a year. Brigham and Women’s Hospital also expects to move in this direction.

And why is this new trend being imposed upon consenting adults? Budget cuts? Lack of infant nurses? Bankruptcy of the company that makes those little plastic bassinets on rollers? Too many episodes of “Switched at Birth”? Did we run out of pink and blue stocking caps?

No, ladies.  We need to be taught, schooled if you will.  Left to our own devices we would all be terrible mothers, our children would all have attachment disorder, and they’d all be on the Short Bus because of the alleged evils of formula.  Oh, and all the kids have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome because the world hasn’t, as the CDC recommends, banned half the world population from drinking alcohol between the ages of 21 and 50 (but that’s another story).  Apparently,

The shift is part of a national movement designed to promote breastfeeding, bonding, and parenting skills by having mothers and healthy newborns room together around-the-clock, attended by nurses who look after their needs. Many postpartum specialists now believe that nurseries, long a life raft for recovering mothers, is not the best, or most natural, way to provide care.

Ok, yes, let’s do this.  Since we’ve already decided that women shouldn’t make choices about breast vs. bottle, abortion or childbirth, drinking or not drinking, let’s also take away their choice to not drown in the wonderful, horrible, crazy sea of new motherhood. Because we really can’t be trusted to choose the best way for ourselves and our children.

You know what’s “natural”?  Having a baby squatting in a field, wrapping the baby in your headscarf, and going back to the harvest.  You know what’s “natural”? Women being pregnant non-stop for 40 years.  You know what’s “natural”?  Sending the first twelve kids to work the farm while you “bond” with the thirteenth.

The world, mercifully, at least in the US, is different now.  Women now have the choice to earn money while squatting in the fields and nursing and being pregnant.  Except for the vast majority of women, it’s not a choice.  You know what promotes breastfeeding?  Paid maternity leave.  You know what promotes bonding? Paid maternity leave.  You know what promotes good parenting skills? Paid maternity leave.

But, sure, take away the nursery.  I’m sure the Postpartum Specialists know best.

  1. Diane permalink

    You know, I was actually pretty thrilled to see this move on the part of the hospitals. I did not see it as a denial of rest for a Mother, but a protection for the newborn who is truly the more vulnerable of the two. Way back when(over 20 years ago now) they would whisk your baby away to the nursery to get all their newborn tests etc. Well, if the right staff weren’t on the clock(weekends,holidays, odd hours) your newborn would be kept in the nursery for hours. I happen to be one of those robust women who could squat in a field and keep working(I know, lucky me!) but more then that my instincts would go a little nuts,apparently I have a very strong drive to bond,and the last thing I wanted was to be forcefully separated from my baby. I still remember throwing my clothes on and standing by the nursery less then an hour after giving birth to my last and demanding they give her to me and they could send whoever needed to see her to my room. While odds are this is a cost reduction ploy on the part of the hospitals, for many of us who could not stand the thought of being separated from our newborn for a second even, this is a huge breath of relief. Less chance of newborn kidnapping, less chance of infections, less chance of medical mistakes and better Mother/newborn bounding which that first 24 hours is key. Just think, the hospital can now create yet another layer of “specialty professional” to bill the insurance for, certified nannies to babysit for each new Mother while Mom’s who are unable to care for their newborn after complications.(considering the high rate of c-sections in the US it will be a robust new field of specialists) Those first few days were the easiest. Most newborns are as wiped as their Mom from the birth process, they tend to just want to sleep and eat. I think 2 weeks after she was born I would have welcomed sleep more then that first magical few days.

    • It’s wonderful that you had such strong bonding instincts and that you found the newborn experience so positive. And I totally agree that baby kidnapping shouldn’t happen. My issue isn’t so much with the whole idea of nurseries as it is with the fact that the resource is being taken away from those who really need it. Mothers should have a choice.

      • I have to agree with Dr. Leng. I do think mothers’ should get the choice. If you try to force bonding w/an exhausted Mom, maybe experiencing birth for the first time (or having previous kids to deal with also), hormone levels pretty high, it might be more helpful in that situation for her to have a break. Is she really going to feel like it? Is forcing going to help in this situation? I’m not sure it will. I can’t find it in my heart to demonize someone needing a break.

        I refuse to demonize those who choose bottle too. Not everyone is so blessed, and like hey, lots of bottle fed babies turned out ok. Dr. Leng has a point in that each should choose what is best for the situation, and lets support that.

        That being said, it was women who wanted to be in the workforce. There are good and bad sides to all. Mat leave is really not affordable at this point. The point is also that women can take 3 months or so leave. If you want a child, those adjustments and financial situations really need to be worked out. Remember in ob/gyn: if you are not on birth control and having physical intimacy, you are trying to get pregnant.

  2. Diane permalink

    Today most Mom’s have a choice and often covered by insurance. Birthing centers are a growing option and offer vast options for various levels of assistance. Then we can home birth as well. But for complicated births I can understand the need for assistance. Perhaps hospitals should only do complicated births and everyone else should get the better care at birthing centers away from hospitals. While the term “natural” is loosely thrown around, women are pretty tough and made to have babies. I know in Europe the Drs. are encouraging their healthy Mom’s to stay home away from the hospitals for birthing. The trends indicate more and more Mom’s really don’t want to be near a hospital because of the growing concerns over poor care, high infection rates, and the fact that hospitals cannot help but treat every “patient” like a patient vs just a Mom having a baby. There is always the option to save an additional couple hundred bucks to pay for a caregiver to stay with you. There are always great RN’s looking for extra hours providing private care. Guessing there would be plenty who would find 12 hours or more of snuggling a newborn a very good moonlighting job indeed. The big question is, if it were a “Man” pushing a bowling ball out would they cut the option of free baby care for him as well? Right now with profit’s being the main focus of healthcare I bet them would! 🙂 Hospitals need to decide ” Are Mom’s patients? Or are they not?”

    • Yes, I think in general hospitals should be moving towards the care of the very sickest and most complicated cases. While I’m not a big fan of home-birthing, because of the lack of quick access when something goes wrong, birthing centers associated with hospitals are a good compromise for many people.

  3. I just gave birth at BMC 3 weeks ago and was given the option (multiple times) of letting the baby stay in the room with me or letting the nurses take him to the nursery.

  4. Interesting. I think in Australia, babies are only taken away from their mother & placed in the “nursery” if they are unwell and need extra care (e.g. if they’re a ‘jaundice baby’ they go under heatlamps or something, or if they’re preemie they go to the NICU…). Something like that. Otherwise, they’re in with Mum all the time.

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