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Keeping baby with you after birth at public hospitals?

  1. #1
    ozmerc is offline Registered User
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    Keeping baby with you after birth at public hospitals?

    I am registered at a public hospital (PWH) and also have a place at a private hospital. I'm assuming at this stage I'll go private - I like my doctor and she seems to be on board with the way I would like to do things (basically natural as possible, minimal interventions). But I'm not very happy with hospital policy regarding removing the baby for 'observation' for a few hours after birth. My doctor says I'd need a ped to be on call in order to declare the baby healthy and avoid this separation. Assuming the baby is otherwise OK, do they do the same thing at public hospitals?

  2. #2
    newmother is offline Registered User
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    I was in Queen Mary Hospital and if I remember correctly, they took my son away for about half an hour to measure and do the Apgar test. It did not seem more than half an hour, definitely not a few hours.

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    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Gave birth at Pamela Youde (public hospital) about two weeks ago. I put in my birth plan that I wanted immediate contact with my daughter and the chance to breastfeed right away. So, when she was born they peformed the apgar test and all the immediate procedures right there in the room (probably took less than 10 minutes and she was right beside me). Then she was with me for probably about an hour--I breastfed right away and then my husband sat beside us and held her while they put in my stitches (tore a little bit). So, it was probably well over an hour before they took her away and they asked for my permission before doing that. They took her to get a bath and a vitamin K shot. According to my husband, she was probably out of our sight for only 15 minutes or less. Then while I was in the labor room for observation for three hours she was with us the entire time. Right before they transferred me to the recovery room, they came and rolled her in her bed to the nursery area but when I got up to the recovery room she was reunited with us right away. So, I would say that separation was very minimal and I kept her with me most of the time.

    There were a few times I left her in the nursery--when I had to go shower and no one was with me. But, I really didn't like to leave her in there very long because I walked by one time and noticed she was screaming hysterically and no one was in the room--in fact I noticed that when babies cry no one really picks them up--the attendant just goes over and checks to see if they need their diaper changed or if it's their feeding time--but doesn't pick the babies up to comfort them which I found to be almost heartbreaking--so I kept my daughter with me as much as possible. So, when I walked by and saw her crying, I went in and comforted her until a nurse came back and could hold her while I went to the restroom.

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    CFM
    CFM is offline Registered User
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    I gave birth at the private hospital you are referring to and I was also dismayed at the reasons for the baby being taken away for all the post birth checking. I made it clear that I didn't want this and was told it was unavoidable. I also tried saying that I wanted my husband to accompany our daughter for the tests etc but this was also not allowed! I really tried but then in the end I didn't argue this one too much as I had put my foot down on so many other things! Actually when the time came it really was not a major issue. Most stuff was done when she arrived and we got to cuddle her (unrushed) for a good period of time (I don't recall how long....). She was taken and then brought to me as soon I was cleaned up and back in the room. I rang and said I wanted her and she was brought straight to the room. I don't think she was separated from us for more than 2 hours. I was able to feed her straight away and I never felt 'separated' from her for long. I hope you get what you want.....

  5. #5
    ozmerc is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for the feedback so far. I have a good OB who is supportive in terms of getting the most natural birth possible, but I'm not sure how much you can push against standard hospital protocol. I am definite on baby being with me immediately after birth, especially for the first hour or so. I don't understand the huge rush to weigh/measure and bathe. I have in my birth plan that I don't want anyone to bathe my baby while I'm in hospital and they seem to be a little obsessed with cleaning the 'dirt' off the baby. I also don't get why the private hospital insists that the baby must go in an incubator for observation - I'm guessing it's to cover themselves should there be some problem - and when I try to explain that skin to skin contact is the best way to keep baby warm they seem to think I'm a bit mad.

    One good thing about the public hospital system is that they have adopted the 'baby friendly' breastfeeding initiative as per the ten steps outlined by the WHO. One of these steps states 'Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one half hour of birth', and the details (which are not usually printed) state that the baby should go directly to the mother, or as soon as possible (within 30 mins), for at least one hour of skin to skin contact. So I can pull that one out to support my case, at least if I go public.

    Thanka2 - your experience is pretty much what I'm looking for. If they must remove the baby I'd rather it be just for 10 mins or so while I am in the room - I'm definite on baby not being removed out of my sight. I am requesting no shots or bathing while in hospital, as I mentioned before, so hopefully that separation wouldn't occur. I'm pleased also that my local public hospital has indicated they are willing to consider my birth plan and discuss it with me, despite the fact I know they are super busy. I am feeling a little more positive about the public system now.

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    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
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    I had a scheduled c-section at PMH 2 months ago. After they weighed the baby and did the apgar, they did take her away, I guess for the shot, maybe something else, but it was only for about 20 minutes. By the time I got stitched up and taken to the recovery area just outside the operating theatre, they brought me my baby so I could breastfeed. I requested that specially and the nurse who handled the request was very understanding and supportive. Had I not asked, I don't think my baby would have joined me since it was actually a bit of a no no. They told me that recently a woman dropped her baby in the recovery room so they were now very cautious. I had my baby for the entire recovery time, about an hour. Then they wheeled us together up to the post natal ward. I was pretty paro about not having my bab out of my sight and a few times I really had to make sure she was right there and reiterate a few times that was was breastfeeding exclusively and rooming in exclusively. They were very supportive of it all.

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    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozmerc View Post
    I have in my birth plan that I don't want anyone to bathe my baby while I'm in hospital and they seem to be a little obsessed with cleaning the 'dirt' off the baby.
    Of course this is your choice but I'm curious to know why you do not want your baby bathed while in hospital. ??? Will you also not bathe while you are there? Is this your first child?

    I just have to say that if you're going for a natural childbirth you're going to sweat and sweat hard and after the birth you're going to smell (unless you somehow don't ever get body odor). Imagine running the most intense marathon of your life--and how you might smell after that. Also, the smell of blood and amniotic fluid (and poo and urine which very likely will come out of you too during the process) can start to get a bit overwhelming as you sit there--and you may have to be in the hospital for more than just one day for observation or something depending on how your birth goes.

    Also, the baby will smell like your blood and amniotic fluid and have you smelled blood before as it starts to get old and dried? Actually, my daughter had a light bath the day she was born (she still had quite a bit of vernix--the white, waxy skin covering even after being bathed) and it really took about 3-4 additional baths (after she came home) before she really stopped smelling like blood and amniotic fluid.

    Alternatively, I would suggest that you ask about them bringing a basin to your room and allowing you to bathe the baby and if you get that bonding time right after birth before the baby is given shots etc. then you can use that time to rub the vernix into the baby's skin (it is actually nourishing for the baby's skin). Then make a note that you want the baby bathed only in warm water without soaps or bring your own mild soap to use for the baby if you want.

    I'm just saying...it's totally up to you...but with my first birth (totally 100% med-free and natural) because I lost so much blood afterward, I couldn't stand up without passing out for over 2 days and I had to "cook" in my own smell and fluids for that amount of time because I couldn't get to the shower and I just remember feel really gross and uncomfortable. Also, babies don't come out smelling sweet. Just some things to think about.

  8. #8
    ozmerc is offline Registered User
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    Thanka2 - thanks for the advice. This is my second, but I didn't have this issue with my first. I think he was washed for the first time (by us) at about 48 hours old. I must have gotten lucky because he was spotless and sweet-smelling when he came out. Well anyway I thought he was! I definitely don't want to delay my own bathing if possible though.

    I just don't want a stranger giving my baby her first bath and I also understand that after a natural birth at least, the baby is thought to be coated with beneficial bacteria from the birth canal (and the vernix in some cases which you pointed out has protective properties) and is also colonised with (good) bacteria by mum's skin from first contact/breastfeeding, and I don't want to immediately wash all that away. Furthermore, the WHO guidelines for newborn care also state that bathing should not occur in the first 6 hours and preferably delayed until after 24 hours. So those are my reasons. If for some reason they absolutely must wash her I will ask for warm water only - definitely no soap.

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