Caring for your baby
We want to protect and enhance your baby’s development by giving them care that fits their particular needs. This involves ensuring the reduction of noise levels, avoiding extreme changes in lighting, finding comfortable positioning, feeding and encouraging touch, massage and family support.
If your baby was born before you had the chance to prepare your home, you may want to use the waiting time before discharge to do this. If you feel unsure about what to prepare, please ask the nurse looking after your baby, who will be happy to advise you.
To help you prepare for going home, we have accommodation within the unit where you can stay overnight and gain confidence in caring for your baby on your own, with support close at hand if you need it.
We also offer a basic resuscitation skills session, which involves practical training. This course takes about an hour and is advertised on the unit. Please put your name on the list, if you are interested in attending.
You may feel worried because your baby might not look like you expected: premature babies can look very different to those born at term. They can have fragile red skin covered with downy hair (called lanugo). However, even babies born more than 12 weeks early have eyelashes and fingernails. They can cry, open their eyes and respond to sound and touch.
You might find it encouraging looking at the photos of other babies who have been on the unit, as you can see how quickly they progress.
During your baby’s stay, you may experience a range of emotions. It is not uncommon for parents to feel frightened, shocked, upset, angry, cheated, confused, helpless or out of control. You may be scared that your baby may not survive. You may also find it hard to bond with your baby until you know he or she is out of danger. These feelings are all normal and there are no right or wrong feelings.
It may help to talk to your nurse, or to the counsellor attached to the unit, about these feelings. You can contact the counsellor on (01273) 696955 and ask the switchboard to put you through on extn 7928, or you can ask your baby’s nurse to arrange for the counsellor to contact you. You can speak to the counsellor even after your baby’s discharge.