RIDGEWOOD, NJ, January 31, 2013 -- Excited visitors, squabbling siblings, and photo ops can take their toll on a new mother who is exhausted from giving birth and needs private time to bond with her new baby.
At The Valley Hospital’s Center for Childbirth, the afternoon hours of 1 to 3:30 p.m. have been designed as "Quiet Time," a period when the lights are dimmed, soft music plays, and new moms and their support persons are encouraged to sleep and bond with their baby with skin-to-skin contact. During Quiet Time visitors and siblings are asked to wait in the waiting rooms, and hospital personnel only enter a mother’s room if she asks for assistance. There is a sleeper chair in each room to allow the father or other support person to rest.
"My husband, Robert, and I loved Quiet Time because it gave us private time to talk, sleep, and get to know our new daughter, Emily,” says Limor Regular, of Wyckoff, who delivered her third daughter at Valley in early January. "I had a lot of visitors and with my two other little girls in the room with us, I wouldn’t have been able to rest without Quiet Time."
In addition to giving new moms needed rest and privacy with their newborns, Quiet Time also encourages them to room-in as a family, learn their babies’ feeding cues, and prepare for caring for their baby at home. When a family rests during the day in the hospital, they are better equipped to room-in with their baby at night.
"In observing Quiet Time, we are responding to patient satisfaction surveys that told us new mothers felt they did not have adequate rest time after childbirth and were disturbed by hospital interruptions and too many visitors,” says Beth McGovern, MSN, RN-OB, a clinical practice specialist for Valley’s Women’s and Children’s Services. “Now, just before 1 p.m. our nurses and patient care associates go to each room to see if the mothers need anything, and then we tuck them in for a nap. Our whole floor instantly feels calmer. Everyone, even our staff, is noticing the benefits of Quiet Time."
Quiet Time is also observed in Valley’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, when parents are encouraged to practice "kangaroo care" by placing their babies skin to skin.
Quiet Time is an important component of the hospital’s Patient- and Family-Centered Care model and fits in with Valley’s holistic approach to childbirth and mission to keep mothers and their babies together as much as possible. In 2011, mother-baby nurses began newborn admitting procedures directly after birth. Such duties as assessing the baby’s health and taking footprints are now accomplished in the room with the mother, instead of whisking the baby away to the nursery for a bath and assessment.
"Research has shown that as newborns transition to life outside the womb they self-regulate their body temperatures better when placed skin to skin to their mothers right away rather than being separated,” says McGovern. “Keeping them with their mothers after birth also enables them to breastfeed successfully for the first time."
Mrs. Regular says she was pleased with Valley’s approach to promoting a natural birth experience. "I enjoyed keeping Emily with me as much as possible, and giving her special time alone with me and her father before her sisters came to visit," she says.
The Valley Hospital Center for Childbirth is a component of the hospital’s comprehensive Women’s and Children’s Services, which includes private labor/delivery/recovery suites and private post-partum rooms; the Center for Holistic Birth and hydrotherapy tub; maternal-fetal medicine services; genetic counseling and screening; the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and its Peek-a-Boo ICU™; Birth Doula Program; the Women’s and Children’s Resource Center; the Fertility Center; a host of family education and childbirth preparation classes; and the eLearning Childbirth Education Program. For more information, call 201-447-8403 or visit www.valleyhealth.com/Obstetrics.
Caption: Robert and Limor Regular at home in Wyckoff with baby Emily and daughters Tamara (left) and Maya.