These days people are pretty quick to judge almost every single parenting decisions a mom will make. In fact, it's to the point that you feel like you can't win. If you breastfeed, don't do it in public; if you work, feel guilty; if you stay home, feel lazy. It's exhausting, and it makes so many women feel like they're failing at this whole mom thing. I can tell you one thing you don't need to worry about, though: taking advantage of the hospital nursery directly after you've had your baby. Trust me, choosing to have your baby sleep in the hospital nursery doesn't make you a bad mom. In fact, it probably makes you a smart mom; as you've undoubtably made a decision that has allowed you to rest, recover, and do what is necessary so that you can stake care of your brand new baby, once you've left the hospital and headed home.
When I had my daughter, I was sure I would have her sleep in the same room as my partner and myself. Yeah, that didn't happen. I was so exhausted after labor and delivery, and she had come so unexpectedly, that my partner and I agreed we needed our first night to ourselves to try to rest and re-cooperate. Thankfully, we had the option of an understanding and supportive nursery who took wonderful care of our little girl so that we could prepare to be the best parents possible for her once we took her home and lost the assistance of nurses, doctors and hospital staff.
While there are both pros and cons to having your baby sleep in the nursery — just like there are pros and cons to having your baby sleep in your hospital room, right by your side or even in your bed — the choice is ultimately up to you, mom who just birthed another human being. We need to start trusting parents to make the right decisions for themselves and their children rather than requiring certain things from them in order to somehow "prove" they're worthy of the responsibilities that come along with parenthood. So trust me when I say that having your baby sleep in the hospital nursery doesn't make you a bad mom, at all. In fact, it makes you a smart, empowered mom, for (at least) the following reasons:
You Need Sleep...
If you gave birth in a hospital, the time your kid can spend in the nursery is arguably the last time you can have a decent, uninterrupted night's sleep. Yes, if you're breastfeeding they will bring the baby to you to nurse, but you can be in somewhat of a twilight sleep during that time (as if you had a baby nurse with you which, you know, is just a best and something so many celebrity mothers swear by). Take advantage of those restful nights, mamas. Trust me, you won't be seeing very many of them again.
...And So Does Your Partner...
If you have a parenting partner and/or someone who was there with you during labor, they're exhausted too. I mean, yes, they didn't go through hours of excrutiating labor and either push a human from their body, or have a human cut from their body; but they were along for the right. They need some decet night's rest because, of course, the parenting responsibilities are going to be split and shared once you guys get home.
It's A Great Reminder That Your Needs Still Matter
Yes, your baby is important and your life has changed and you have another human being to worry about and care for, but you're important, too. Your needs matter, so you shouldn't neglect them in the name of motherhood. You're no good to your baby if you're not at your best, so do what you need to get there, mom. You still matter.
You're Already Learning How To Ask For Help
Learning how to ask for help is one of those quintessential parenting techniques that no one really talks about, no one really teaches you and no one really writes about in those baby books. However, it is vital. You need to ask for help and hey, if you're taking advantage of the hospital nursery, you're one step ahead of everyone else. You're already learning how to ask for help from the nurses and the hospital staff. Good job, mom!
It Gives You And Your Partner Alone Time, One Last Time
This is one of the last and few opportunities where you will get to have alone time with your partner (at least until your kid moves out). Take advantage of it. I mean, yes, the majority of this time will be spent with the two of you actively studying the back of your respective eyelids, but still; it's the two of you, together, for one last time before it becomes three (or more) of you. Cherish it.
You'll Still See Your Baby, So It's Not Like You're Abandoning Them
Just because your baby sleeps in the nursery, doesn't mean that you never spend time with them while you're in the hospital. It simply means that they are in a separate room for the night so that you can rest well and recover. You spend all day with them (and even some hours in the night if you really want to because, after all, they're you're baby) so, yes, you can spare a few hours for sleep if it's necessary and something you feel comfortable doing.
You Know What's Best For You (And Your Baby)
Honestly, no one has the right to tell you that what you're doing is wrong (unless, of course, you're physically, verbally or emotionally harming your child in any way). If you've weighed your options and you have decided that using the nursery will give you the sleep you need to regain your energy and recover from labor and delivery; do it. No on gets to tell you that's wrong, because no one knows what it's like to be you and, now, be the mother of your child. You know what's best.
Nurseries Exist For A Reason
If hospital nurseries were just the worst thing to ever happen to parents, they wouldn't exist. In the end, they're a thing for a reason, and if you decide that reason will be beneficial to you: use it. Rest up, recover, spend time with your parenting partner (if you have one) and do what you need to do to prepare for solo, out-of-the-hospital motherhood. Trust me, that journey is a long one, my friend.