“Rooming In” is a nationally recognized practice whereby infants are cared for by their mothers in the patient room instead of the nursery, where they would be separate from their mother. This model of care is a great benefit for both the mother and her newborn.

Rooming In also helps moms and babies get off to a good start with breastfeeding. Studies suggest that mothers who room in with their babies produce more milk, make more milk sooner, breastfeed longer and are more likely to breastfeed exclusively compared to mothers who do not. Rooming In also allows mothers to quickly learn their babies’ needs and how to best care for them.

Babies that room in have been found to cry less, soothe more quickly, spend more time quietly sleeping, gain more weight per day and are less likely to develop Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin that sometimes requires treatment.

“Rooming In is a very positive step for the hospital, but more importantly for our mothers and infants,” said Carol Downes, RN, director of maternal-newborn services at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. “There are so many benefits associated with the Rooming In model that have been proven to have a lasting effect. We are very pleased to be taking the hospital in this direction.”

Rooming In is endorsed by many highly respected organizations including the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

Melrose-Wakefield Hospital has always offered mothers the option of Rooming In with their babies, but as of Jan. 12, 2010 this will become the new standard of care at the hospital.

Rooming In is just one of 10 steps hospitals must take in order to become designated a “Baby Friendly Hospital.” The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for lactation.

Melrose-Wakefield Hospital has been working toward becoming a Baby Friendly Hospital for approximately 18 months and has made a lot of progress during this time. There are hundreds of Baby Friendly Hospitals throughout the United States and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital is on track to become the first community hospital in the state to be named a Baby Friendly Hospital.

For more information about Hallmark Health, visit www.hallmarkhealth.org or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hallmarkhealth.


Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Cancer Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Malden; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology.

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