Rooming-In at the Mother-Baby Friendly Complex of Riverside Medical Center

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Rooming-In with Baby: Riverside Medical Center

Riverside Medical Center has a Mother-Baby Friendly Complex. It is imposed there that mothers should be roomed in with their babies after childbirth. Unang Yakap is also practiced.

Riverside Medical Center - operating room - rooming in - childbirth
A photo collage of the delivery of our second daughter via C-Section at Riverside Medical Center.

Doing Mommy Research

A few months before I was going to give birth, I inquired about the Bacolod hospital baby delivery rates so that we would know how much to prepare for my eventual delivery. Then I learned that rooming-in with the infant is already mandatory in all Bacolod hospitals. During Dindin’s time, it was still optional, and so I was taken aback.

Rooming-in with Baby

Honestly, I wanted to cry at the new rooming-in set up. I had a difficult delivery with Dindin and the post-natal experience was not very encouraging. In short, it was rather traumatic and would not want to go through the same.

I also gave birth to Dindin at Riverside Medical Center and although they were already pushing for breastfeeding at that time, there was no physical or moral support. The first time I got to the hospital’s breastfeeding station, the nurse just handed baby Dindin to me and left the room immediately, without helping me go about it. She moved so fast that I was not even able to call her attention.

Riverside Hospital child friendly complex - private room - rooming in
My private room at the Riverside Medical Center, Mother-Baby Friendly Complex. Here, waiting for my C-Section schedule.

For a first time mom who just underwent a terrible delivery via C-Section and still had her dextrose and catheter attached, I almost dropped Dindin on the floor. It took so much effort and will power for me to gather Dindin in my arms.

Required by Law

The rooming-in is already compulsory in Philippine hospitals because of the The Rooming-In and Breastfeeding Act of 1992 or Republic Act 7600 and Executive Order 51 of the Republic of the Philippines. Here they are, as follows:

“a. EO 51 THE MILK CODE – protection and promotion of breastfeeding to ensure the safe and adequate nutrition of infants through regulation of marketing of infant foods and related products. (e.g. breast milk substitutes, infant formulas, feeding bottles, teats etc. )”

-An act providing incentives to government and private health institutions promoting and practicing rooming-in and breast-feeding.
-Provision for human milk bank.
-Information, education and re-education drive
-Sanction and Regulation”

So anyway, I had no choice but to accept the rooming-in setup. I only prayed that everything will be fine with the baby and me .. and that my fears would be unfounded. This is already my second C-Section–a scheduled one–so I wasn’t so stressed with labor, as I chose to have baby delivered a week before our expected date of August 19.

Riverside Hospital baby friendly complex - rooming in
The entrance to the Mother-Baby Friendly Complex located at the 3rd Floor of the Riverside Medical Center.

Mother-Baby Friendly Complex

Thankfully, the system at Riverside Medical Center has drastically changed. All childbirth cases, whether through normal delivery or C-Section, are housed in the Mother-Baby Friendly Complex of the hospital. There are no medical or surgical cases there apart from childbirth, so the area is sterile and free from germs and viruses that cause common ailments.There were pretty stringent rules around here, which are posted at the entrance of the wing.

There are wards where two patients and their babies can room-in and there are private rooms where there is only one patient and the baby. I chose the private room because for the P3,000 difference, I valued my privacy as well as the safety of the baby because she was going to stay with me.

Riverside Hospital baby friendly complex - rooming in
Some of the nurses that attended to baby and me at Riverside Hospital. Nurse Josephine is pictured 2nd from left. Thank you very much for all your help!

So as a new practice at the Riverside Medical Center Mother-Baby Friendly Complex, there is a set of nurses assigned to a number of mothers and another set handling the babies. All of them are trained and adept at handling maternal cases. And all of them, except one, are helpful and friendly. They have to be extra helpful because only one watcher is allowed per patient and so extra help is really needed. And it helped that they were smiling when they came into my room because that did alleviate my mood, even though I was in pain.

Breastfeeding Woes

What I also appreciated most was the breastfeeding advice that I got from their head nurse, Miss Josephine, of Riverside Medical Center. You see, I was on IV pain medication for the first three days and I couldn’t get up without getting nauseated. Most times, I would really throw up whenever I would lift my head off the pillow.

So even as a second time mom, it was hard for me to breastfeed my baby or to pump milk. On the third day, I was on the bed and somehow my hand felt my breasts. They have shrunk, as if they were already going back to their original size. I almost panicked and cried.

What happened to the breast milk? Don’t I supposed to have breast milk for my baby? I went outside to the nurses’ station and thankfully, it was Nurse Josephine who I got to talk to. She encouraged me, saying that no, it is not true that I could not breastfeed. I just gave birth and the production of breast milk can be stimulated. She said that it is natural for me as a mom and I am capable of producing milk. She told me that she will counsel me that day and so she did.

Riverside Medical Center - breastfeeding lecture
Breastfeeding is encouraged and supported at Riverside Medical Center. Dr. Marxwynn Diente gave a breastfeeding lecture a couple of days after I gave birth. All the moms who gave birth during that time were scheduled to attend. If you can’t stand up like I was, you will be brought to the seminar room on a wheel chair.

Breastfeeding Support

So Nurse Josephine went into my room and taught me how to stimulate milk production, such as proper latching, how to pump, what to eat, and the like. Then she invited me to a breastfeeding seminar that afternoon, which was being held at one of the conference rooms at Riverside Medical Center. It was being hosted by breastfeeding advocate, Bacolod-based pediatrician Marxwynn Diente.

I obliged because I was really willing to learn how to breastfeed my baby. It was a free seminar and all the new mothers in the hospital were brought to the conference room on wheel chairs so there was really no excuse. I truly appreciated it.

After that, I let my baby latch and then I used my new breast pump. True enough, I was able to produce about 5ml of breast milk on the first try. It was not much but my heart really jumped in elation upon seeing white droplets come out of my nipples. I had hope! Then I just continued it.

Despite the pain (both in my breasts and my C-Section) I was really very happy to be able to produce a little breast milk. And I was armed with hope that maybe, with this baby, I can fully breastfeed her–something that I was not able to do with my eldest despite my strong desire to do so. 🙁 At that time, there were no resources and support such as these.

I still had difficulty positioning baby with my right breast and it was my OB-Gyne who helped me correct the situation.

Review of the Rooming-In System

After my experience, I am still for giving mothers a choice as to whether to room in with their babies or not after delivery. I know that many mothers appreciate this but for me, I would rather have rested on the first two days, especially that I had C-Seciton. After all, I was sedated and mostly nauseated so I didn’t handle my baby during this time.

I was also very itchy all over because I was allergic with the anesthetic used during my C-Section. And I got stressed because I also woke up every time baby cried and could not do anything about it. By the time I could already stand on my feet and be able to latch her, she was taken away from our room and moved to a treatment room for photo therapy because she has jaundice.

She was only brought back to me every time she had to feed. So the rooming-in system did not work for me. That is why, I think that mothers should have a choice.

Riverside Medical Center - mother-baby friendly complex - rooming in
Cuddling and sleeping with baby are among the things you can do when you are roomed in together at Riverside Medical Center. Taken the day after I gave birth. I couldn’t stand without throwing up, so baby was just placed beside me. A newborn baby smells so good!

Additionally, it cost us extra money because I got a private room. I was fine with just the ward if it was not for the rooming-in setup. With Dindin, I stayed in the ward and that was okay. I just thought that there would be so many people in the room already with the baby and she is still so young. Her immunity is not yet strong, so I thought that it was best to limit her human interaction–especially with people that we don’t know.

Unang Yakap

I appreciate this law about encouraging mothers to breastfeed and all. This program includes the Unang Yakap (first hug) practice where upon birth at the delivery room, the baby was placed on the mom’s tummy and was allowed to crawl up to find the breasts and latch. This was done on the first 30 minutes of birth. This was not done in my case because I was sedated after C-Section. Though, at least, I was able to kiss and smell my baby before I was conked out.

Riverside Medical Center - childbirth - Mother-baby friendly complex - giveaway
This baby got a lot of free stuff, even before she was born. At the Riverside Medical Center, we were given bath starter kits from Johnsons, Similac starter kits for lactating moms, Calpol and Physiogel samples and a vanity kit from the Riverside Medical Center  –a token for their anniversary.

After-Discharge Services

Another thing about the new system is their after-discharge services of Riverside Medical Center. Shane needed to complete her antibiotics and when we were discharged, she still had three doses left. During Dindin’s time, we had to leave her at the hospital because our only choice was to bring her home and then bring her back to the hospital three times a day or hire a nurse that we know to do it.

This time around, the hospital offered their after-discharge services. The fee was just P300/visit of the nurse and she was already responsible for administering the medication. And when she came during mornings, the visit included giving baths to the baby. Not bad, at least we would not have to go out anymore and they really went out of their way to make our lives easier . So I really love this service!

Riverside Hospital after childbirth
After we were discharged from Riverside Hospital, a nurse came over to administer Shane’s antibiotics intravenously. She also gave baby a bath, cleaned the ears, and the cut of the umbilical cord.

Anyway, after all is said and done, I am just thankful that my baby and I are both safe and okay now. And I just want to take this opportunity to thank my very nice doctors–Dr. Catherine Jison (OB-Gyne), Dr. Teresita Galon (anesthesiologist), and Dr. Rosemarie Tagat (pediatrician).

And then of course, special thanks to all the nurses and auxiliaries at Riverside Medical Center Mother-Baby Friendly Complex who were very friendly, helpful, insightful, and encouraging. Thank you very much for making it a wonderful experience for my second born!

I am not sure if this is the same set up in other Bacolod hospitals but what I know is that rooming-in is already in effect in all hospitals in the country.

My Husband’s Opinion

My husband says that he is for the compulsory rooming-in of babies with mothers because, if you come to think of it, we can have a million reasons to give if we don’t want to room-in. Well, I have to agree with him, because while men do not endure the pains of childbirth, my husband is surely the type who would willingly go through with it just to spare me from the pain. And he had been very much involved in my pregnancy, childbirth, and taking care of the babies.

While there is already a lot of effort in encouraging breastfeeding among the new mothers, my husband feels that there is room for improvement. All doctors and nurses dealing with the patients can still be equipped some more in the area of breastfeeding so that they can impart more knowledge to the mothers.

He thinks that it should become sort of a “passion” of medical professionals to motivate mothers to breastfeed, like in Australia, where breastfeeding is almost compulsory. We heard that the mother and child will not be released from the hospital if breastfeeding is not in place. Wow!

Riverside Medical Center - Mother-Baby Friendly Complex - visitation
Our eldest daughter Dindin visits me and her sister every day while we were still admitted at Riverside Medical Center. We stayed at the Mother-Baby Friendly Complex for a week.

Hubby says that another reason he is in favor of the compulsory rooming-in is because it just makes it easier for the medical professionals to sort of “train” the mothers on how to properly breastfeed and be able to fully breastfeed their babies as much and as long as they can. He says that maybe mothers who delivered by C-Section can be allowed a two-day recuperation period and then the “training” on breastfeeding can start. Good point!

Hope my experience at Riverside Medical Center can guide soon-to-be mothers in this exciting journey of childbirth in Bacolod City!

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