I've been wanting to write about this since Ariel was born. It's something that I feel rather strongly about after giving birth in both Sweden and Singapore.
Did you know? I've said it before when I wrote about expensive babies but I am saying it again.
There is no such thing as a nursery in the hospital back in Sweden.
When I tell people about it, especially those who are mothers themselves, the responses I get are usually along the lines of:
Indeed, it was pretty tiring. But you know what, I loved and cherished the whole experience so much that I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Which is why I was extremely glad that we chose to spend a little more and stay in a single room when I delivered Ariel this time round. Initially, we chose it so that the hubby could stay over but on the day of delivery, we were informed that you could only have the baby room-in if you stayed in a single room. *phew* Yes, I wanted to have my baby beside me as much as possible.
WHY? I'll tell you why.
Let's compare the Sweden style and the usual Singapore style where the babies stay in the nursery.
For instance, the hubby was the one who gave Angel her first bath and the nurse was only standing beside to give verbal instructions. On the second night, Angel got into a crying fit and we tried all sorts of solutions but failed, only to ask the nurse for help and she showed us how to burp her and get her poo out with the use of a thermometer.
The first couple of days of your baby's life only happens once. Miss out on that and it never comes back.
The next day after I gave birth to Ariel in Thomson Medical Centre, I went for this breastfeeding/bathing workshop. Not that I thought I badly needed it, but it was good to just refresh my memory a little.
I can't tell you how many times I was appalled by some of things said by the other first-time parents.
There was another parent who said "I don't know how to change diapers.
They never let me do it."
Seriously, am you blaming the nurses for that or are you not taking enough initiative to keep your baby by your side?
There were many things that the speaker said which I wholeheartedly embraced and agreed.
"If you want to learn to care for your baby, then why do you let the nurses take your baby away from you for such a long time?"
"The first days are important. It is when you learn about your baby and build up your confidence as a parent. You should know your baby best."
Sometimes, I can't help but think that Singaporeans are a little over pampered and thus take things for granted. Then when we are left to fend for our own, we become clueless, we get demoralized and we go into an unnecessary panic. That sense of confidence in upbringing a child, which I believe is vital to any parent, doesn't fall from the sky and it needs to earned. Well, I am just relieved that I have been a hands-on mum for both my girls. Feed, coax, bathe, soothe, clean, cuddle, hug, kiss. I did them from day one and I still do them every single day.
Also, I am not saying that everyone should burn their pockets to stay in single rooms for we all know how absurd the rates can be. Still, it is always possible to request for your baby to stay by your side for extended periods each time when the nurses bring him/her to you before they absolutely need to bring them away again. The only question is: Do you want your baby to stay by your side in the first place?