Your baby’s Special Care Nursery team
A neonatal nurse is a registered nurse and midwife who provides the overall hands
on care of your baby. They will keep you informed of your baby’s progress and will
provide you with information to help you care for your baby at home.
What tests are needed?
The paediatrician will order any blood tests or x-rays that are necessary. Blood sugar
levels may need to be checked often to assess whether the baby needs early feeds or
an intravenous line (drip).
Checking baby’s vital signs
Once baby’s condition has been stabilised they will be observed in the isolette and
monitored with very little handling. At first, vital signs will be recorded hourly and then
reduced as baby’s condition improves.
Keeping your baby comfortable
Working with the Special Care Nursery staff, parents and families play an important
role in keeping your baby calm and comfortable. It is important that your baby is
allowed to rest as much as possible to promote growth. Until their condition is stable,
cuddling may not be possible. However, you will be encouraged to sit with and talk to
Nappies are changed about every 3-6 hours and when baby’s condition is stable you
will be encouraged to help with this. Babies are not bathed until they are well enough
to tolerate the procedure.
Baby’s condition will determine how and when feeding will start. If they are not ready
for milk feeds, an IV line (drip) will be inserted to provide the fluids necessary to meet
their needs. Not all babies are mature enough to suck straight away. A feeding tube
will be inserted via the nostril into baby’s stomach. This tube is taped into position and
used to give your breast milk or formula.
Expressing breast milk for your baby
If your baby is unable to suck, and you intend to breastfeed it is important for you to
stimulate your breasts regularly. If possible, start expressing as soon after delivery
as you are able. The nursing staff will demonstrate how to hand express and then
encourage you to continue expressing every 3 hours during the day, and once
Regular expressing is vital to establish and maintain a good milk supply. Once your
lactation is established, we will introduce an electric breast pump.
You will need to purchase either a disposable breast pump kit from Wesley Maternity
or a kit from the pharmacy.
No matter what the volume, we will give all expressed breast milk to your baby.
Will my baby need any medications?
All babies are given an injection of Vitamin K shortly after delivery to prevent a blood
clotting disorder (haemorrhagic disease of the newborn).
The Hepatitis B vaccine (which you need to give signed consent for) may be delayed
until baby’s condition improves. The paediatrician will order any other medications
your baby may require.