Having a baby is hard work. But Israel really makes it worth all the effort – starting with one hospital in Jerusalem that seems to have added just one extra bit of comfort to the process.
In the United States – and in most hospitals in Israel as well – the average hospital stay for birthing mothers these days is 48 hours, including two overnights. It’s a big business in Israel especially: 171,207 babies were born in 2013 in the Jewish State, and the government paid the hospital bill for every one.
Many hospitals keep the baby with the mother, relieving the burden on staff and relieving anxiety on the part of the parent. But that means Mom gets a little less sleep — and perhaps has a little more stress, depending on her nature.
Some hospitals also no longer teach mothers how to bathe the baby after the initial clean-up following the birth, leaving that job to be learned at home, presumably under the practiced eye of an experienced relative, friend or local professional. But what if this is a new mother and there’s no one at home to teach or to help?
What if this is baby #4 and it’s been a really tiring couple of days?
Some mothers are eligible to go to a “rest home” center, where the baby is cared for overnight and where Ima can get a good night’s sleep. Some mothers also have extra help at home.
But before all that — and the inevitable chaos that is bound to hit the second the new baby comes in the front door — there is one final send-off for some mothers in Jerusalem.
Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center offers a third, optional night in the hospital’s attached Maternity Hotel for mothers who prefer to be joined by their husbands but still need to rest. Most health plans cover this night, if the patient has the optional rider on their plan. Additional nights are available for a fee.
The hotel, which is managed under the “Hadassah Baby” program, offers a 24-hour baby nursery and provides supervision and care by the hospital medical team.
Located on the medical center’s campus, the Hadassah Baby hotel is part of the regular Ein Kerem hospital hotel, next door to the medical center’s full-service mall. The hotel room includes all the amenities of a regular hotel plus those necessary for a birthing more, and then some. Free workshops and group activities are available, and guests receive daily visits from an obstetrician and pediatrician during their stay.
“Another hospital in Jerusalem was offering a free stroller for new mothers who chose to deliver at their delivery room,” Michal J. told The Jewish Press in an interview in the hospital’s playroom for children after giving birth to a healthy baby girl.
“But I have already had three children, thank G-d, and what I really need more than anything is rest. Lots of rest.”
Her face lit up.
“A night in a hotel made for birthing mothers, with my husband, is just perfect.”