WHEELING—Wheeling Hospital has opened its new Nursery, and also began using a new rooming-in arrangement for newborns and their mothers. “Rooming in refers to caring for both the mother and baby in the same room throughout the entire hospital stay,” RN Lynette Debertrand, nurse manager of Pediatrics, Nursery and NICU, said. “The goal is to have the baby stay with the mom at least 23 hours a day, which is a CDC recommendation and supported by the Joint Commission.” Debertrand said rooming-in helps families prepare for going home with a new baby by giving parents the opportunity to learn about infant care as well as the baby’s behaviors, with expert nursing staff working with them day and night. “This is a perfect time to get to know and connect with the new baby as babies recognize their parent’s voice, smell, and heartbeat, which helps them relax,” she said. Many women welcome the idea of getting as much sleep as possible after labor and birth, and often friends and family encourage mothers to request the baby go to the nursery for the night so they can sleep. However, research shows mothers are just as likely to get the same amount of rest with the baby in the room. “Moms are more relaxed with babies beside them, and mothers and babies who room in tend to establish a routine much sooner,” DeBertrand said. Additional evidence shows that 24-hour rooming-in provides moms: Better quality sleep, increased confidence in handling and caring for baby, ability to learn what baby’s cues (sleepy, stressed, in need of quiet time, or hungry, earlier identification of early feeding cues (rooting, opening mouth, and sucking on tongue, fingers, or hand), improved breastfeeding experience, less infant crying and distress (babies love to be near parents), less “baby blues” and post-partum, parents are better-rested and more relaxed by the end of the first week home, increases opportunity for skin-to-skin contact. For baby, the benefits include: better quality sleep, the baby will develop a more regular sleep-wake cycle earlier, and may help ease the transition to day/night routines, more stable body temperatures, generally more content, less crying, more stable blood sugar, breastfeed sooner, longer, and more easily, lower levels of stress hormones, babies exposed to normal bacteria on mother’s skin, which may protect them from becoming sick due to harmful germs. With the change to rooming-in model of care, the new Nursery at Wheeling Hospital is state of the art, but a much smaller version. It is designed for three babies as the other babies will be in the rooms with their mothers. Physicians are rounding and doing admission and discharge exams in the mothers’ rooms, and the nurses are doing all care at the mother’s bedside.