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Child health
‘Rooming-in’ could be an effective non-pharmacological treatment for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome
  1. Karen A McQueen
  1. Lakehead University School of Nursing, Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Karen A McQueen, Lakehead University School of Nursing, Thunder Bay Ontario, ON P7B 5E1, Canada; kmcqueen{at}

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Commentary on: MacMillan, KDL. et al. Association of rooming-in with outcomes for neonatal abstinence syndrome: a systematic review with meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2018; 172; 345-351.

Implications for practice and research

  • Evidence suggests that rooming-in is associated with a decreased need for pharmacological treatment and length of stay for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

  • When safe and feasible, infants with NAS should room-in with their mothers.

  • Rigorous research is required on rooming-in to determine the effective components and short-term and long-term NAS outcomes, including risks.


The prevalence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has increased globally, placing a significant strain on healthcare resources. Newborns with NAS typically receive care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Recent studies have identified that NAS treatment in the NICU may be associated with longer length of stay, more severe withdrawal and lower rates of breast feeding compared with rooming-in care where mothers and infants remain …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.