Saturday, July 9, 2011

What Nobody Told Me About Life After Baby, Part 3:

Rooming-In vs Rooming-Out, in the Hospital and
 After You Get Back Home
A guest post by Renee Malove

Right about the time you figure out what your baby’s going to eat, it’s time to make another major decision that could have serious long-term implications…for your mental health, that is. That’s where your baby’s going to sleep. 

After You Get Back Home

One of the first questions people are going to ask is whether your baby’s going to be sleeping in your room or you’ve decided to set them up a nursery of their own. You have staunch supporters in both camps, so I’m going to let you in on a little secret. America is one of the only countries in the world that solidly endorses putting children in their own bedroom before their first birthday. I bring this up because even though it’s nice to have a room to hold their toys, bouncers, clothes and other paraphernalia I, personally, find it much easier to at least have the baby’s bed in my room those first six to eight months, when they’re still getting up in the middle of the night. When they’re in your room you wake up to them sooner, can have their midnight snack ready faster, and have a better chance of getting them fed and back to bed without that hour lag in between than you do if you’re in a separate room and they have time to wake up all the way before you do. 

After they’re sleeping through the night, however, having them in their own room with a baby monitor is better for both of you. That way you’re not creeping around in the morning when you get up, and they’re not so used to sleeping with you they won’t sleep in their own bed when they’re too big to fit into yours. They have their own place to go to during naptime, and you never have to worry about a toddler peering over the top of their crib and interrupting something they’re not even supposed to know about for another 12-14 years. 

SuperMom Tip: Avoid the temptation to keep the house as silent as possible while your baby’s sleeping. I’m not suggesting your run the vacuum or play death metal in the living room, but don’t be afraid to leave the television on, run the radio, talk on the telephone in the other room. They need to learn to sleep through some noise, or you’re going to be miserable when you have company over or are out running errands during the day. And you don’t even want to know what’s going to happen when baby number two comes along. 

Co-sleeping and rooming in aren’t the same thing. In co-sleeping, baby’s right in the bed with you. I’m not going to offer an opinion on this one way or the other. There are documented risks to co-sleeping; babies have been suffocated by parents rolling or blankets bunching up in the night. On the other hand, there are nights when kids just won’t go back to sleep unless they’re in your bed. So I’ll leave that up to you and your pediatrician. 

Rooming-In When You’re At the Hospital
Regardless of what you’re going to be doing after you get home, at some point you’re going to have to decide where baby’s going to sleep while you’re in the hospital. Most hospitals will give you the option to keep your baby in your room overnight or have them spend the evening in the nursery so you can get some sleep.
When my first son was born, I didn’t want to let him out of my sight. He slept in my room, and I handled his midnight feedings from the very beginning. It was nice. I had the chance to really get to know him, and adjust to his schedule from the start. It was that first night, I think, when I really started feeling like a mom.
Because my daughter was a preemie, however, she had to spend her first days under observation in the nursery. While I can honestly say that while I hated having her out of my sight all day, every day, there are some perks to having the baby sleep out of your room at night. You don’t get any sleep that first month or so back home, so having a nurse who will give them a bottle if you’re bottle feeding and bring them to  you, taking them back when they’re finished, if you’re nursing is a good way to cram as much recovery into those first few days as you can. Where your baby sleeps is up to you, and nobody else. Remember, you’re going to be responsible for their health and well-being for the rest of their life. Nobody’s going to hold where your baby sleeps these first few days, weeks and months against you…especially not your baby.  

Renee Malove is a book addict, a sci-fi fanatic, and the often frazzled mother of three. When she’s not driving the tap dance taxi or cracking the whip over homework time she can usually be found running, curled up with the latest from Patricia Briggs or finding new and inventive ways to bend her furry, four-legged roommates to her will. Oh, and she writes. A lot. You can find her on the web at and talking marketing, parenting, writing and fiction all over the Internet.

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