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The mild contractions started at 6 that morning. It was June 14 and Linsey Culkins was a week overdue. By 2:30 that afternoon the frequency and intensity prompted Linsey and her husband, Casey, to check-in at Sanford Family Birth Center.

Less than two hours later? Welcome to the world Baby Alexander -- a healthy 7-pound, 2-ounce boy.

"It was quick, uncomplicated and I loved how it went -- no drugs this time, all natural," says Linsey. "With our first one, I had an epidural, but with Alexander, I managed the pain through walking, breathing and squeezing the nurses' hands. It worked much better!"

Then came another new twist -- again natural. Linsey and Alexander spent the next 48 hours together in one comfortable, quiet hospital room -- no nursery needed.

"I wasn’t sure how that would work, but it was great," says the 24-year-old mom from Moorhead. "I was surprised how much I liked it."

Sanford Family Birth Center fully supports and encourages this approach. And as Linsey discovered, "rooming in" definitely delivers…

Getting to know you

Linsey remembers how easy it was to bond with Elliot, now 21 months old. "We bonded instantly and I totally expected the same experience with my second. It wasn’t like that at all," she says. "With Alexander, 'rooming in' was a key part of bonding."

In the quiet hospital room, Linsey would watch Alexander sleep in his bassinet next to her bed. "It was my time to take him all in," says Linsey, "To realize, This is him. This is a new person. This is not just another generic baby."

She noticed other things, too. He was very cuddly and snuggled right in when she held him. He made lots of little sounds when he slept. And he had a distinct personality.

"So gentle and so easy to nurse," she says. "I noticed -- and loved -- so many things about him. 'Rooming in' really helped us connect. It was the best part of our hospital stay."

Recognizing cues, gaining confidence

In addition to the chance to bond, “rooming in” gave Linsey the perfect opportunity to recognize Alexander’s cues. It’s an important step in helping parents prepare for going home.

“Alexander is more subtle than Elliot ever was,” says Linsey. “Elliot is so obvious, with big gestures, big everything. But not Alexander. He gives quieter cues for when he wants to nurse or needs something.”

Breastfeeding and all aspects of Alexander’s care went well including diapering, bathing and swaddling. “I always knew the nurses were right there if I had questions or needed help with anything,” she says. “My confidence level when I went home was very high. I felt really comfortable that I knew my baby and I knew what he needed.”

Good rest -- and more

When Linsey and Alexander went home, both were well-rested. “I thought it might be hard to sleep having us both in the same room, but it wasn’t at all,” she says. “We got into a rhythm and slept well. The nurses would just come in and check on us.”

Research shows moms actually get more sleep -- and sleep more deeply -- when their newborn is in close proximity. But there’s more. Rooming in has been shown to:

  • increase duration/frequency of breastfeeding
  • increase volume of breast milk produced
  • decrease infant agitation
  • reduce the need for supplementation
  • improve infant weight gain

“The easiest baby”

Today 10-week-old Alexander lies on his changing table, waving his arms and batting at a bright green dragon dangling from a mobile. He grins, then kicks his legs.

“He’s the most easy-going baby,” says Linsey. “Calm, easily comforted and a really good sleeper and eater.”

She takes him in her arms and they relax in a comfortable chair. Elliot rushes up with a book, clearly in tune with the routine.

“I nurse Alexander while we read books,” says Linsey. “It’s one of our favorite times.”

Thinking about it?

If you’re considering rooming in with your baby, consider Sanford Family Birth Center. Our family friendly, progressive options support you and your baby every step of the way.

Posted Date: October 2011