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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.