Baby's stay

Baby and Hand

When do you start planning for going home?

It will be difficult to give you an exact time as to when your baby will be ready to go home. It is important to remember that all babies progress at their own pace and they will go home when they are ready.

You may need to consider the possibility that your baby will not be ready to leave hospital when you are discharged. We are very aware how difficult this will be for you and we encourage your participation in helping us work towards you all going home as a family.

Once you have been discharged from hospital, you can park your car in the multistorey car park for a discounted fee. Remember to make arrangements to have your baby seat/capsule installed before your baby’s discharge.

Visiting your baby

Contact with your baby is important both for you and your baby’s progress. You are encouraged to visit as often as you like and as long as you wish. The staff will discuss the best times to visit to maximise feeding and bathing opportunities.

Please remember to bring your access card and your breast pump kit with you each time you visit. Hand washing before touching your baby and after nappy changes is still very important.

We encourage you to look after yourself while you are visiting. You can buy food from the restaurant or cafes around the hospital or you may wish to bring something from home. Feel free to help yourself to hot and cold drinks as well as toast and biscuits from the labour ward tearoom. The nearest restrooms are located in 1E or near the Gown and Glove restaurant.

Consults

The paediatrician will visit your baby each day and keep you up to date with their progress.

Ongoing tests and procedures

Testing blood glucose levels may continue until baby’s levels are stable and within the normal range.

The need for further tests will be explained to you as they arise.

All babies are weighed on or around day three and then every second day. Most will lose weight (up to 10%) on this first weigh and this is quite normal.

Premature babies may be more prone to developing jaundice and may need a blood test to check their bilirubin level. If it is high, phototherapy may be used for a few days until the levels have returned to within normal limits.

Anytime from 48 hours onwards all babies have a Neonatal Screening Test done. A small amount of blood is taken from their heel for this test. This test may need to be repeated prior to discharge.

Detailed information on the Neonatal Screening Test can be obtained from your midwife, neonatal nurse or paediatrician.

Your baby will also receive a Healthy Hearing Screen prior to discharge.

Checking your baby’s vital signs

Temperature control is an important part of your baby’s care and this will continue to be monitored throughout their stay in the nursery. As their condition improves the amount of monitoring will decrease. An apnoea monitor may be used once the heart, breathing and oxygen level monitoring has been ceased.

Hygiene

Once a baby’s condition has stabilised, they will be bathed and weighed every second day (to conserve energy). You and your partner will be encouraged to take part in bathing after we give you a demonstration. Very soon you will be bathing your baby on your own and will be skilled in the art of nappy changing.

Baby feeds

Our aim is to discharge your baby fully breast or bottle-fed depending on your choice of feeding method. The length of this process is totally up to your baby. They all establish feeding at their own pace and cannot be rushed. Therefore, suck feeds will be introduced gradually and increased as your baby gives feeding cues.

The amount of milk they receive is increased gradually over a period of 7 days and then will be increased accordingly once they have regained their birth-weight.

The supply and storage of expressed breast milk

If you are intending to breast feed you will need to continue expressing your milk regularly at home in order to maintain your supply. Aim for 8 expressions in a 24-hour period, with no more than a 5-hour break overnight.

Prior to your discharge, you may want to hire an electric breast pump. This can be done through the Wesley Pharmacy or other outlets. The staff will assist you with this.

At home, fresh expressed breast milk (EBM) can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or frozen for later use. In the Special Care Nursery, EBM is stored for 48 hours in the refrigerator, or it may be frozen for use at a later time.

Thawed EBM can be kept for 24 hours in the refrigerator, and then must be discarded.

Please label all your EBM with the stickers provided and write the date and time expressed. Place your EBM in the labelled container in the refrigerator in the Special Care Nursery.

Once you are discharged, you will require an esky and cold packs to transport your milk to the hospital each day.

Recommended storage by method

Condition EBM Room Temperature
26 °C and below
Refrigerate
4°C and below
Freezer
Fresh 6-8 hours
Still preferable to keep in the fridge
3-5 days
Store at back of fridge
2 weeks in freezer Compartment inside fridge
3 months in freezer section of fridge if separate door
6-12 months in deep freezer <18°C
Previously frozen, thawed in fridge (not warmed) 4 hours or less.
(ie.next feed)
24 hours Do not refreeze
Thawed outside fridge in warm water Completion of feed 4 hours or until next feed Do not refreeze
Baby has begun feeding Completion of feed Discard Discard
Queensland Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Guideline: Breastfeeding Initiation. (2010).

Medications

Your paediatrician will order all necessary medications. You will be instructed on how and when to administer any medications required after discharge.

What about “rooming in”?

Prior to discharge you will be offered the chance to room in with your baby for one or two nights. This is a great opportunity for you to spend one on one time together as a family and to consolidate feeding.

As well as being a great “getting to know you” time it gives you the chance to care for your baby on your own while having the backup of the staff should any last minute questions arise.

There is a fee charged for rooming in that cannot be claimed through your health fund. This covers the cost of the room and your meals. Your partner is welcome to stay but must supply their own meals or purchase them from the hospital menu.

Going home – the day of discharge

At last the time has arrived to take your baby home.

Rest assured we are not sending you home unprepared or alone. You will be given information on various support groups in the community such as Child Health and lactation consultants, should you need them.

Prior to discharge, the paediatrician will examine your baby and a follow up appointment will be discussed.

Baby will need a final weight and you may wish to bathe them before going home. Please remember to return your access card to the staff prior to discharge. Don’t forget your camera for a leaving hospital photo.

Whether your baby is in Special Care Nursery for a short or long time, we hope that the experience has been a positive one for your family and that this information has been helpful during your stay. Please do not hesitate to ask any of the staff for advice and discuss any concerns you may have with us.