Target: Massachusetts Public Health Council Director, Derek Brindisi
Goal: Keep nurseries open in hospital maternity wards.
Over the past few years, multiple hospitals in Massachusetts have closed their nurseries, requiring new mothers to keep their newborns in their rooms. While this effort has been made to try and increase the rate of breastfeeding in the U.S., it strips mothers of much needed rest and recovery time after the exhausting experience of childbirth. Though some new mothers may want to have their babies stay in their rooms with them, others may need space and rest. Ultimately, this decision should be left up to each individual woman, but removing nurseries from hospitals takes this choice away from women entirely.
The hospitals in Massachusetts that are removing their nurseries are doing so to attain a “baby friendly” status, a label established by a program promoting breastfeeding. Closing these nurseries in order to promote breastfeeding is problematic because it can make new mothers who either don’t want to, or cannot, breastfeed feel pressured to do so. It is not the place of hospitals to shame new mothers into keeping their babies in their rooms or to breastfeed. In addition, allowing a newborn to remain in a nursery for a few nights doesn’t prevent them from breastfeeding in the long run, and it might be extremely important for a new mother to have a couple of nights to rest and recover in order to prevent serious conditions such as postpartum depression.
Ultimately, the issue here is the importance of choice. The decision to keep a newborn in the hospital room with its mother or to have it cared for in the nursery is one that should be left to the new mother. The recent closure of nurseries in Massachusetts is stripping new mothers of this choice, and creating added pressure during an already stressful and vulnerable time. Please sign the below petition to show your support for new mothers and their right to choice by demanding that hospitals keep their nurseries open.
Dear Mr. Brindisi,
I am writing to ask that you and your council please require Massachusetts hospitals to keep nurseries open on their maternity wards. The first few hours after giving birth is an extremely stressful and vulnerable time for new mothers, and many of them need space from their new babies to rest and recover. The recent closure of many nurseries in Massachusetts has occurred in an attempt to promote breastfeeding, which is ultimately a choice that should be made by each individual woman. By closing nurseries, the hospitals have increased pressure on new mothers and taken the power of choice away from them.
Many of the hospitals in Massachusetts have closed their nurseries to promote breastfeeding. While this may be well-intentioned, requiring new mothers to keep their babies in their room can be hurtful to new mothers who may feel shame if they cannot, or choose not, to breastfeed. Not only does taking away nurseries take away a new mother’s choice about whether to keep her baby in her room or not, but it takes away her opportunity to rest and recover after the long and exhausting experience of childbirth. By taking these nurseries away, we are risking the health of new mothers as resting after giving birth is important to the prevention of serious conditions such as postpartum depression.
Ultimately, the issue here is the importance of choice. The decision to keep a newborn in the hospital room with its mother or to have it cared for in the nursery is one that should be left to each mother. Please support new mothers and their right to make decisions for themselves by requiring Massachusetts hospitals to keep their nurseries open.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Dave Herholz