Caring for your baby

Staff will involve you in the care of your baby as soon as possible. You may feel apprehensive about touching your baby at first, but we will help you to gain confidence. Initially it may be a touch or comfort holding in the incubator. Nappy changes and mouth care will be done on even the sickest babies and we will support you to do this. When your baby's condition allows, you will be able to have a cuddle and perhaps skin to skin contact - sometimes called kangaroo care. We will encourage comfort holding when your baby cannot be cuddled. Nurses will use positioning aids (bumpers, nests etc.) as premature and sick babies are often very floppy and have little power to move themselves. Staff will plan care at times when you are visiting so that we can cluster care and treatment and allow for periods of rest.

We will ask you to provide nappies & nappy bags, cotton wool and cotton buds for your baby while they are with us.

Only one small toy is allowed in each incubator or cot. They must be taken home and washed weekly to reduce the risk of infection.

Baby clothing
We have baby clothes of various sizes to dress your baby if appropriate. These are washed by us on the premises. Should you wish, you can provide your own clothes for your baby. Please inform the nurse looking after your baby and we will label the cot accordingly. You will be asked to take these clothes home to wash and it is recommended that they are washed at a temperature no lower than 60 degrees centigrade and then tumble-dried.

Comfort cloths
If you hold a cloth close to your body, you can transfer your unique smell to your baby who will be comforted when the cloth is placed next to him/her. You also will be comforted if you take a cloth home with your baby's smell on it and if you are breastfeeding it will help your milk to flow when you are expressing.

Breast milk is the best milk you can give to your baby and even if you don't intend to breastfeed, expressing your milk is the best way you can really help your baby in the early days. We have lots of information available to assist you to express your milk and we encourage mums to express by their babies cot side. There is a fridge and freezer onsite to store your milk and we have breast pumps available for you to loan free of charge whilst your baby is in hospital. These must however be returned once your baby is discharged so that other mums can use this service.

If you are intending to bottle feed your baby we will ask you to bring in your own bottles and bottle brush once your baby is bottle feeding well.  Please let us know as soon as possible which method of feeding you have chosen so we can support you in your choice.

However, babies that are unwell or too premature may be unable to suck at the breast or a teat. Until they are able to do this, they can be given your own breast milk or artificial milk through a tube which is passed through their nose and into their stomach.

If your baby is premature or sick and ready to start feeding you may be advised that donor milk would be best for your baby until mothers own breast milk is available or formula can be commenced. The nurse looking after your baby will discuss this with you and provide a leaflet answering questions you may have. The Donor Milk Bank is located here on the Neonatal Unit. 

For information on donor expressed breast milk, please visit the Cheshire and North Wales Human Milk Bank website by clicking here.

Quiet Time
Premature infants are particularly vulnerable to the stressful environment that they encounter while on the Neonatal Unit. At all times please try and speak quietly and observe the 'Ear' noise meters in each room which display a traffic light system depending on the noise level.  To help reduce this stress and allow for a period of rest we have designated a quiet time on the unit when bright lights and blinds are lowered and minimal handling will be observed, only intervening for emergencies. Quiet time is normally between 1300 and 1500 hrs daily.

Please do not use mobile phones for conversations while in the nurseries.

Infant massage
A number of the tactile interventions which are received by infants on the unit are unpleasant and procedural in nature. The importance for parents of Infant Massage is that it incorporates nurturing touch, massage and reflexology in a loving, one to one interaction which nourishes the baby's healthy development.

One to one massage is one of the best ways for parents and their baby to benefit from the advantages of positive touch. Please speak to a member of staff for more information on Infant Massage Sessions available on the Neonatal Unit.

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