Baby Photos in Hospitals

Here’s something I’m really curious about. When my first child was born, our hospital had a bulletin board near the front desk of its birth center. It was absolutely stuffed with baby photos tacked up by proud parents. Some scenes were photographed in hospital beds, others at home or at a park.

When you enter the hospital, you’re bound to spend some idle moments at the front desk. You naturally gravitate toward the sea of happy baby photos on the wall.

When my second child was born, the hospital had hung a second bulletin board, again already packed with baby photos. Some parents had clearly revisited the hospital to post updated images of their kids.

I enjoyed showing my now 4-year-old daughter her own photo on the wall, and the photos of her friends.

Recently, I heard through the grapevine that the hospital is undergoing a system-wide sprucing up, and first to fall were the bulletin boards. The photos? Tossed in a cardboard box and carried away.

The grand insightful plan is for some photos to be relegated to the confines of a photo album that will be available to visitors.

I can’t imagine the judging criteria that must go into building such an album.

The idea is monumentally misguided (read: idiotic) for a multitude of reasons, but I’ll reserve my vitriol to pointing out that these baby photos represented success stories. Instead of removing the images, the hospital should be redesigning the hallway to have wall-to-wall bulletin boards to make a hallway of joy (positioned just high enough to be out of reach of toddler hands). But, whatever.

I’m curious whether this is a small town hospital thing, or if bigger hospitals allow such patient-induced displays of happiness. Does your hospital display baby photos brought in by prior patients?


21 Responses to “Baby Photos in Hospitals”

  1. Tanya says:

    In the recent renovation, the clinic in our hospital just ditched the bulletin board.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 12:30 am

  2. Rachel says:

    To be honest, I really don’t see what the big deal is.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 6:26 am

  3. adrienne says:

    Our hospital doesn’t have a bulletin board, but individual offices have boards in them (physicians’ offices and lactation).

    February 22nd, 2010 at 7:01 am

  4. Becky says:

    I wonder if HIPAA concerns had anything to do with it. I see these boards more often in small community hospitals that are more relaxed about privacy.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 8:15 am

  5. Angelique says:

    My dentist office had a wall of photos, for kids that had no cavities at each visit, but they removed it for patient privacy issues. Something to think about…

    February 22nd, 2010 at 8:54 am

  6. AJ says:

    I don’t buy the HIPAA/privacy concerns rationale. One, parents sign a HIPPA awareness doc as a patient. Two, these are photos the parents themselves tack up, so it’s not as if they don’t understand they are putting their babies on public display. There is no contact information attached to the photos.

    I infer everyone’s hospitals don’t display photos and no one (at least within the first few months) has a desire to revisit the hospital and share a photo with the nursing staff and visitors.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 9:02 am

  7. KGS says:

    My OB’s office practically begged me to bring either the baby or a photo to my first postpartum visit– not to post, but so the staff could see the fruits of their labors, so to speak.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 10:27 am

  8. Allison says:

    I actually don’t know about our hospitals birthing center. I haven’t been back since my son was born. They do offer to take your babies picture and post it on their website with birth details and then give you a card with the URL to give to friends and family. This is of course if you sign the privacy waiver first.

    Our pediatrician and the midwife group both have photo boards. The pediatrician has them in the hall. The midwifes actually have a board in every exam room. I remember I really enjoyed looking at those photos while waiting for exams while pregnant. As you said it was a reminder of all the success stories! Happy smiling mamas and papas standing next to a happy smiling midwife usually just post birth.

    I must say we have never contributed a photo to either board though. We forgot to take one with the midwife and I just don’t feel all that attached to our pediatrician since we end up seeing other doctors more then her usually.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 10:30 am

  9. AsMomma says:

    I work in a hospital and work takes me to the NICU area frequently. Parents of NICU “graduates” send in updates, cards, pictures, Christmas cards, thank you notes and they are all displayed on wall within the unit to allow all of the staff to see them. We also have several poster sized frames displayed with more photos of baby pictures and “updates” pictures as well. No contact info is displayed on the bulletin boards which anyone can view. I think they are cute and a nice touch. The only time I think it could be hard to see those is if you are a parent who suffered a loss – might be painful to see those. Otherwise I think they are a great touch and always personally make me smile and stop to look at them. I think the patients think the same thing. We are also one of the last few hospitals that have the first photos posted on our website – of course parents fill out paperwork first to allow permission – but they are not password protected.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 10:35 am

  10. Phil says:

    Our hospital posts a pic of each baby born (without name or identification). I love the idea of parents tacking their own pictures to the bulletin board.

    I think it humanizes the business of baby-delivery. I think the ‘wall of joy’ sounds like a smart marketing move for the hospital. Silly to pick some of the photos from the existing board for an album.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 11:02 am

  11. anastasiav says:

    My son was born at Ballard House (a now sadly defunct) freestanding birth center. The walls of the staircase were full – and I mean FULL – of photos of happy Ballard House babies, many of them in their “I’m a Ballard House Baby” bodysuit that was part of the stuff we got when we took him home.

    I never submitted a photo, but the onsie is carefully preserved in his baby box.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 12:26 pm

  12. silver says:

    The NICU that my daughter was in has bulletin boards like that–and it’s a large hospital in a large city. My OB’s office has a few boards with birth announcements hanging up.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 1:30 pm

  13. RookieMom Whitney says:

    My hospital hosts 7500 births per year. Although I had a good experience there (twice) I don’t feel like I was part of any community and therefore would never think of contributing my photo. My OB office and pediatrician office have these picture boards, too, but I have not contributed there, either.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 5:24 pm

  14. AJ says:

    Ahh, now for 7,500 births I’d have a computer monitor recessed into the wall and place baby photos on a screensaver. Or, the deluxe route would be a widescreen TV displaying a few dozen photos at a time.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 5:27 pm

  15. Kaely says:

    We had a homebirth, so no hospital to post pictures in. But no, our local hospitals don’t have these. Our pediatrician’s office has them in the hallway and our midwife has some pictures in her office also.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 6:10 pm

  16. theblondeghost says:

    More than privacy concerns, the hospital may have been thinking about fire regulations. That said, the concern could easily be addressed by putting the bulletin boards in easily opened shallow glass cases rather than a photo album.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 6:58 pm

  17. Jen says:

    I’m not even sure… I never looked around!!! I know my ob/gyn had a wall of pictures though, but I was too lazy to send one in. :-)

    February 22nd, 2010 at 8:53 pm

  18. Penguinmommy says:

    The hospital only had newspaper clippings like the first baby born in 2000 or the triplets etc. They do a cheesy photography thing through a company that comes and takes your baby’s picture and puts it online and you can, of course, purchase more options. However, the security was so crazy that it took me weeks to access the site and I didn’t bother passing it along since I’d already e-mailed my pictures to everyone who might remotely care.

    Our OBGYN/Midwife office has one of these in all the exam rooms and I’m taking a pic of our boy in to my postpartum visit next week. (That being said, when going through secondary infertility my friends and I would jokingly refer to these as dart boards.)

    I’m most proud of taking my baby’s picture to post at Scallini’s restaurant where my water broke. They have an eggplant dish that is supposed to trigger labor. If you give birth within 48 hours of eating it you get a onesie and a $25 gift certificate and can bring in your baby’s picture. I always loved the hundreds of baby pictures and am totally excited to add mine!

    February 23rd, 2010 at 1:30 pm

  19. Dallas says:

    My hospital did not have the wall of pictures. They did have a wall where one might purchase a plaque to honor or memorialize a child. The baby’s name, a “print” of the child’s footprints (pink or blue), and the family who purchased the plaque were engraved upon it.

    There were probably 4 or 5 hallways. I would stand and look at them, especially the “memorial” ones, with the teeny little footprints. I always cried. And, to be honest, when I went for birthing classes, and went in for my c-section, it frankly scared me to death.

    My OB/GYN’s office doesn’t have the bulletin boards either, BUT, on my first checkup after the birth, Hubby, Baby, and I all went together. I took a picture of my OB/GYN holding Baby, and sent a copy to him in a thank you note. I also saved a copy for the baby book.

    February 24th, 2010 at 6:37 pm

  20. Elizabeth W. says:

    None of the hospitals i’ve ever visited the maternity ward of (5 different area ones so far) have every had a bulletin board. They are all too big I think, like someone said, with thousands of births a year it’s not quite the same. All of the OB/midwife offices i’ve been to have had them though.

    February 26th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

  21. Cathy @ Chief Family Officer says:

    I gave birth at what would be considered a large, big-city hospital where lots of celebrities give birth. There was NO hint of any kind of bulletin board like that in the maternity ward.

    February 26th, 2010 at 10:11 pm