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Newborns: moving out of the nursery.

If you want to peek at the babies at the nursery while visiting Women's Hospital at the University of Michigan Medical Center, you're going to be disappointed. That's because nearly all of the newborns are instead staying with their moms around the clock in the Mother/Baby Unit.

"Babies and moms do better when they're together day and night," explains Elizabeth Bole, assistant director of perinatal nursing. With shorter hospital stays, the practice not only enhances the new mother's opportunity to feel comfortable with her child before she goes home, but also leads to earlier positive breastfeeding experiences. "It gets moms and babies off to a good start."

According to studies, babies who stay their moms cry 10 times less often than those who sleep in nurseries and get more than twice the amount of personal contact. If mother and baby are doing fine, they are transferred to the most intense, notes head nurse Barbara Dubler. At women's Hospital:

* Newborns are carried from labor and delivery into the postpartum area in the arms of their mom or her partner.

* Barring complications, babies stay with their family at all times. The nursery is mostly empty.

* Laboratory work such as newborn screen blood tests are drawn at bedside, and pediatricians examine the baby there.

* The baby's bath is done in the family's room, when he or she is awake, rather than forcing the family into a hospital schedule.

* Partners may remain with moms during the hospital stay. (Chair beds are available.)

* When a baby must remain in the hospital after the mother has been discharged, a "nesting" room is available for parents to stay 24 hours a day.

* There is 24-hour visitation for the individual the mother identifies as her primary visitor.
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Title Annotation:mother/baby units in hospitals
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Dec 1, 1993
Words:290
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