When can I visit?

Parents can be with their baby 24 hours a day. Nursing handover of care generally takes half an hour and commences at 7.30am and 7.30pm. Medical ward round commences at 9.30 am. Parents are welcome to join all handovers and the medical review of their baby. When coming to the unit enter through the main Maternity Reception. Parents can have access to NICU via the entry phone system. Mobile phones can be used on the unit but must be placed on silent and phone calls taken outside of the nurseries in the main corridors to reduce noise within the rooms. While your baby is on NICU we can use a system called V-CREATE to send photos and videos of your baby so you stay in contact even when you are off the unit to help you feel connected and reassured.

Where can I park?

On admission, you will be given a car parking form so you can park for free. The parking permit can be obtained from Level 6 main hospital reception. Please speak to the nurse looking after your baby for more details.

Can brothers and sisters visit?

We actively encourage siblings to meet their new baby and encourage all brothers and sisters to be at the cot side as a family unit. We also have activities including tablets (Amazon fire) to help keep little ones entertained. Please speak to the nurse looking after your baby to get the tablet.

Who can visit?

Your choice of visitor is welcome between 3pm and 7pm daily. Only 2 adults at any time at the cot side for short periods only. Please explain that they may only visit when you are present unless we have permission documented that they can attend on their own and that we are unable to give them any information about your baby’s condition. Children who are not siblings may only visit the unit if they are over the age of 14 years due to the risk of infection.

When can I touch my baby?

We encourage skin to skin in the delivery room after your baby is stabilised and before your baby is transferred to NICU by the team. On NICU parents and siblings are encouraged to interact with their new baby as quickly as possible. Your baby will recognise your voice and skin to skin holding is beneficial to both you and your baby. Nurses will support you to care for your baby’s needs as much as possible. We ask other visitors not to touch babies due to their immature immune systems; we feel it is better for them to wait until the baby is well and at home.

I planned to breast feed my baby, bus she is premature, is this still possible?

Breastfeeding your preterm infant is still possible; in fact, we encourage you to first provide colostrum, first milk produced after birth and the first ‘medicine’ that we give to your baby within an hour after birth and then breast milk for your baby. Until your baby is able to breastfeed, you will need to establish a milk supply by expressing your breast milk with a pump or by hand. Your milk can then be stored until required. Pre-term babies can begin to suck from the breast after about 33 weeks gestation. While developing their sucking and swallowing technique they can tire easily and may appear to play at the breast either licking or taking a few sucks before falling asleep. This is a normal process. You will be supported by our nursing team and breastfeeding advisors to assist and advise you in establishing successful breastfeeding. Pre-term babies are fed via a naso or oro-gastric tube until they are able to establish either breast or bottle feeding.

There are so many lines attached to my baby, what are they for?

Your newborn baby may need to be monitored closely and may need to receive intravenous fluids or drugs. A great deal of the equipment you will see around your baby is routine – ECG leads on your baby’s chest assist us in monitoring his/her heart rate and breathing and the probe with a light, possibly on the foot or wrist, allows us to monitor how much oxygen is circulating in thier blood. Please ask the nurse caring for your baby to explain the equipment to you; he/she will be more than happy to do this.

I have so many questions I would like answering, who do I ask?

Every member of our team would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have, so please feel relaxed in approaching us. We will do all we can to answer your questions and queries.

How long will my baby be in NICU?

We usually say, aim for your due date. Babies born nearer their full term may be home before this time. Some very premature babies may still need to be looked after in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit beyond their due date. You will be able to prepare to go home caring for your baby when you are transferred to the Transitional Care Ward (TCW) once your baby is stable, not requiring additional monitoring, ECG/Saturation for example and has reached 33 weeks gestation.  We expect that your baby will be part feeding either by breast or bottle as well as naso-gastric feeding and gaining weight or without medical concerns.

What support will I have at home?

You may be introduced to one of our neonatal outreach nurses prior to your baby’s discharge. If this is the case you will be invited to a discharge planning meeting whereby your family needs in preparing for home will be discussed. The Neonatal Outreach Team normally visit as often as required when you are first discharged and become less frequent as your needs require. If you do not need our outreach team involvement, your community midwife and health visitor will be your main support once you are home. They will have been updated on your baby's treatment during your stay in NICU and on discharge. Health visitors should contact you at home after your discharge. Your baby will then be followed up regularly at their clinic.

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