Although mother-infant bonding programs in hospitals are aimed at allowing mothers to spend more time with their newborns, lawmakers and mothers yesterday urged more flexibility in the programs as they can become troublesome for mothers.
“When I gave birth to my second child, I stayed in a hospital that had a mother-infant bonding program. However, I left the hospital four days after giving birth, even though the National Health Insurance would have helped to cover five days’ stay,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) told a news conference on Mother’s Day yesterday at the Legislative Yuan. “You know why? Because I was too exhausted — both mentally and physically.”
To help develop a closer relationship between mother and child, mother-infant programs allow newborns to stay in the same room as their mothers for 24 hours a day, so that mothers can breastfeed their child anytime they desire, Lin said.
In an attempt to promote the practice, the Department of Health has made the implementation of the program part of hospitals’ performance evaluations.
“Although it is a well-intended program, I’ve received complaints from many mothers that the hospital would turn down their request to take their babies from them for a while, so that they may have a good rest,” Lin said. “I must say that, after labor, a mother does need a good rest to recover. Having the baby around 24 hours a day does not necessarily benefit the mother or the baby. A mother should have the right to choose what she wants.”
DPP Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) said that she was also disappointed by an inflexible mother-infant bonding program.
“I was at the edge of mental collapse after giving birth to my child because of the mother-infant bonding program,” she said. “I agree that the program is well-intended, but it must be implemented in a mother-friendly way to make sure that a mother gets enough rest while also enjoying taking care of her newborn baby.”
“The government is encouraging childbirth, but why would a woman want to have another child if she had a bad experience the first time,” Wu asked.
Taiwan Women’s Link chairwoman Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) agreed, saying that the post-delivery stay at the hospital is not the only chance for a mother to develop a relationship with her baby.
“Recovery after labor should be the priority,” she said.