The Mother/Baby Unit

The Mother-Baby Unit helps each new mother transition from the birth experience to becoming a new mom and supports each transition with care, guidance, and ongoing new parent education.

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Your Newborn

Your new baby is here, and we are here for you when it comes to learning to care for your newborn. Our Mother-Baby unit staff members are happy to provide education and answer any questions you may have.

READ MORE

Postpartum Care for Mom

Caring for your baby is important, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods and taking a little time for yourself will help you be more available for your baby and family.

READ MORE

The Mother/Baby Unit


The Mother-Baby Unit helps each new mother transition from the birth experience to becoming a new mom and supports each transition with care, guidance, and ongoing new parent education.

Mother Baby Unit

Once you and your new baby have adjusted, you will be transferred to our Mother/Baby Unit (also on the third floor). From here, you will be discharged approximately 48 hours after your birth experience. All rooms on the Mother-Baby Unit are private rooms, with bath and sleeping accommodations for the new dad/co-parent. The Mother-Baby Unit helps each new mother transition from the birth experience to becoming a new mom, and proudly supports each transition with care, guidance, and ongoing new parent education.

As part of our family-centered care philosophy and a goal of the Baby-Friendly Initiative, we encourage skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby, as well as rooming in with your baby. Some advantages for your baby include the following:

  • Helps maintain body warmth
  • Regulates heart and breathing rates
  • Helps baby gain weight more quickly
  • Helps baby spend more time in deep sleep
  • Baby spends more time being quiet and alert and less time crying
  • Baby has a better chance of successful breastfeeding
  • Baby may notice less pain when getting shots or minor painful procedures
  • Promotes baby’s brain development

Skin-to-skin and rooming in is good for you, too!

  • Improved bonding and feelings of closeness with your baby
  • Increased breast milk supply and increased likelihood of breastfeeding exclusively
  • Increased confidence in ability to care for your baby
  • Increased sense of control

From this point forward, your newborn will remain with you in your room – you will not need to be separated from your newborn at any time under normal circumstances and conditions. Rooming-in with your new baby allows for the opportunity for the mother and primary support person(s) to become familiar with baby’s feeding cues, individual personalities and characteristics, and their unique sleep-wake cycles. While we do encourage your baby rooming in with you, a nursery is available if your baby is in need of medical observation and care.

In keeping with our practice of family-focused care during your postpartum stay, your nurse will respond to your defined learning needs providing support and education of new skills for first-time parents and a refresher for parents who have previously experienced childbirth and newborn care.

East Alabama Medical Center supports the Healthy People 2020 recommendation for the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding of all newborns. To support our families as they endeavor to provide nourishment for their new baby, we offer guidance and education from our staff of certified lactation consultants as well as your individual RN care provider.

Moms may identify up to two individuals to serve as their primary support persons. These individuals may stay overnight and participate in the care of your newborn. Your baby’s siblings may visit during our regular visitation hours between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., and again from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. From 2-4 p.m., East Alabama Medical Center observes quiet time. During this period, only your primary support person(s) will be granted visitation. Quiet time is an opportunity for the new mother to spend time with her baby, engage in personal care, or simply get some rest while the primary support person(s) care for the baby.

Your Newborn


Your new baby is here, and we are here for you when it comes to learning to care for your newborn. Our Mother-Baby unit staff members are happy to provide education and answer any questions you may have.

The “Fourth Trimester” (from Dr. Harvey Karp, UCLA Pediatrics)


Your Newborn

The “fourth trimester” for a baby is from birth to 3 months. During this time, the baby will miss womb sounds. Babies cannot be spoiled or held too much during this time.

The infant method of communicating is through crying, and it is always loud, no matter the problem. You can help the infant with his or her calming reflex, however – anything that mimics the womb environment will do this (see the 5 “S’s” below).

Colic is thought to be an infant’s response to an immature nervous system and immature gut. Babies respond to irregular intestinal movements with fussiness or crying. Protracted crying produces stress hormones, which causes more fussiness. By two weeks (when most colic emerges) the baby has developed a pattern of prolonged crying at certain times of the day or night.

Five Ways to Switch on the Calming Reflex (the 5 “S’s”)


  1. Swaddle – Swaddle the baby tightly with arms down, which decreases upsetting movements. However, this may upset the baby and may not calm baby by itself. The arms must be down, and be sure to feel the ears and tip of nose to see if baby is too hot. If so, remove clothes.
  2. Side-lying (or tummy – with parent holding): should face down (like a reverse breastfeeding position); great for dads to do.
  3. Shushing – Get close to baby’s ear, make sounds like womb noise. Do it as loud as he baby is crying and then lower as baby calms.
  4. Swing
    • a. Swings/jiggling – support head but allow for gentle jiggling movements. Avoid shaking the baby.
    • b. Swings – must swaddle baby tightly with strap between legs; belt into baby swing. Recline seat back. Use fast speed after jiggling in seat for about 10 seconds. Must calm baby first before starting swing.
  5. Sucking
    • a. Suck on a finger – wash hands first!
    • b. Pacifier – If breastfeeding, wait until feeding is well established. To train, push down a little so they think they are losing it and will improve their suction on it. Do not dip in honey or syrup and do not tie around neck.

Some babies need all 5. To help your baby sleep, try wrapping, white noise and using a swing. As baby gets older, gradually phase it out.

Newborn Observation and Special Care Nursery


Our Special Care Nursery has four areas: observation, special care, intensive care (level II) and discharge. The Nursery provides the following services: observation of and basic newborn care (circumcisions, vaccinations, hearing screening, labs), stabilization of ill newborns prior to transfer, and care of the stable pre-term infant. The devoted Nursery nurses are specially trained to provide quality, secure care to the "new additions" at EAMC.

Sleep safety – remember the ABC’s to ensure that your baby is safe.


Your Newborn

A – Alone – Babies should not sleep in the bed with parents.
B – Back – Babies should be placed on their backs to sleep.
C – Crib – Babies should be placed on their backs in a crib with no fluffy or loose items.

When bonding with and feeding your infant, it is helpful to have a support person awake for assistance.

Preventing Infant Falls


These things can contribute to infant falls:

  • Mother and infant fall asleep together in bed
  • Support person falls asleep with infant in chair or on sofa
  • Infant is left unattended on bed or couch
  • Pain medication that causes mom to be drowsy

Postpartum Care for Mom


Caring for your baby is important, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods and taking a little time for yourself will help you be more available for your baby and family.

Postpartum Care for Mom

After you have your baby, you enter the postpartum period, which lasts about six to eight weeks. During this time, you progress through many changes, both emotionally and physically, while learning how to deal with all the changes and adjustments of being a new mother. You and your partner will not only learn about how to care for your new baby; you will also have to adapt to a new, changed family unit.

A new mother needs to take good care of herself in order to rebuild her strength. You will need plenty of rest, good nutrition, and help during the first few weeks.

Rest/sleep


Every new parent soon learns that babies have different time clocks than adults. A typical newborn awakens about every three hours and needs to be fed, changed, and comforted. A new mom can become overwhelmed with exhaustion, especially if this is the first baby. While a solid eight hours of sleep for you may not happen again for several months, the following suggestions may be helpful in finding ways to get more rest now.

  • In the first few weeks, if at all possible, a mother needs to be relieved of all responsibilities other than feeding the baby and taking care of herself.
  • Sleep when the baby sleeps. This may be only a few minutes rest several times a day, but these minutes can add up.
  • Keep your baby's bed near yours for feedings at night.
  • Many new parents enjoy visits from friends and family, but new mothers should not feel obligated to entertain. Feel free to excuse yourself for a nap or to feed your baby.
  • Get outside for a few minutes each day. You can begin walking and postpartum exercises, as advised by your physician.

Nutrition


Your body has undergone many changes during pregnancy, as well as with the birth of her baby. You need to heal and recover from pregnancy and childbirth. In addition to rest, all mothers need to maintain a healthy diet to promote healing and recovery.

The weight gained in pregnancy helps build stores for your recovery and for breastfeeding. After delivery, all mothers need continued nutrition so that they can be healthy and active and able to care for their baby.

New moms need to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Most lactation experts recommend that breastfeeding mothers should eat when they are hungry. Sometimes, you may be so tired or busy that food gets forgotten. So, it is essential to plan simple, healthy meals that include choices from all of the recommended groups from www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. The information on this website can help you eat a healthy diet.

Although most mothers want to lose their pregnancy weight, extreme dieting and rapid weight loss can be hazardous to your health (and to your baby's if you are breastfeeding). Cutting out high-fat snacks and concentrating on a diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, balanced with proteins and carbohydrates will help you gradually lose baby weight. Exercise also helps burn calories and tone muscles and limbs.

Postpartum Care for Mom

Hydrate! Along with balanced meals, breastfeeding mothers should increase fluids. Many mothers find they become very thirsty while the baby is nursing. Water, milk, and fruit juices are excellent choices. It is helpful to keep a pitcher of water and even some healthy snacks beside your bed or wherever you breastfeed.

Consult your physician or a registered dietitian if you want to learn more about postpartum nutrition. A certified lactation consultant can also help with advice about nutrition while breastfeeding.

Help at home


New as well as experienced parents soon realize that babies require a lot of work. Meeting the constant needs of a newborn involves time and energy and often takes parents away from other responsibilities in the home.

Helpers can be family, friends, or a paid home care provider. A family member such as the new baby's grandmother or aunt may be able to come for a few days or longer. Whoever you decide to have as helpers, be sure to make clear all the things you expect them to do. Communication is important in preventing hurt feelings or misunderstandings when emotions are fragile during the first few weeks. It is generally best for the new mother to be relieved of all responsibilities except the feeding and care of herself and her baby. This is especially important if she is breastfeeding. Others should assume the chores in the home such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping.

The “Baby Blues” and Postpartum Depression (from www.womenshealth.gov).


The “baby blues,” or feelings of sadness, anxiety, being overwhelmed, and mood swings, are not uncommon in the first few days after childbirth. Physicians believe that the hormone changes from pregnancy and childbirth may contribute to these feelings. The “baby blues” often go away within a few days or a week. The symptoms are usually not severe and do not require treatment.

However, postpartum depression is another matter. The symptoms of postpartum depression are longer and more severe. Postpartum depression can begin anytime within the first year after the birth of a child. The symptoms of the “baby blues” are common with postpartum depression, but in addition, these symptoms often occur:

  • Thoughts of hurting the baby
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Not having any interest in the baby

Postpartum depression can be serious and needs to be treated by a doctor.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your baby blues do not go away after 2 weeks
  • Symptoms of depression get more and more intense
  • Symptoms of depression begin any time after delivery, even many months later
  • It is hard for you to perform tasks at work or at home
  • You have thoughts of harming yourself or the baby

CALL 911 or your doctor if you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby!

Do you need more information?

We tried to include information about every facet of pregnancy and childbirth at EAMC on our web site, but if you still have questions, please feel free to contact us and we will respond within 48 hours.