Babies who need extra care

Some babies (around 1 in 8) are admitted to specialist neonatal units or children’s hospitals, because they arrive earlier than expected or are too sick to cope on their own. If this happens to your baby, you may not be able to take her home with you.

Staying in hospital

Your baby might need the special care of the neonatal (new born) unit or children’s hospital. These wards have special equipment as well as specially trained staff to care for the babies. The length of a baby’s stay can vary from days to months and depends on each baby’s needs. Most children’s hospitals and neonatal units can make arrangements for parents to either stay with their baby or to be close by and will provide help with costs of food and transport. 

Your breast milk will provide the important nutrients and goodness to help your baby develop. You can express your breast milk for your baby if they are in a neonatal unit. If you choose to do this it is important to express often, this will also help maintain your milk supply to feed your baby as they grow.  A guide is available from Neonatal units for parents whose babies need special care.

Coming home

Once a baby who needs extra care has come home, you will probably stay in touch with the hospital paediatrician either directly or through a community neonatal nurse who specialises in newborn babies.

Last Updated: 06 February 2018
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