Every month a few healthy babies are admitted to our neonatal unit due to low blood sugar levels and/or a low temperature (cold).
Follow these simple steps whilst you are in hospital to help avoid separation of you and your baby:
- Always keep your baby warm – skin to skin contact after birth with a hat and blanket to cover your baby will help.
- Dress your baby with appropriate clothing.
- Please help to keep the room warm and draught free by closing windows and doors.
- Feed your baby early, if possible within one hour of birth.
- Responsive feeding (ask your midwife for further information).
If you have any concerns about the temperature of your baby, the room or are experiencing feeding difficulties please ask your midwife for advice.
Pre-term delivery and breast milk
Breast milk is still the preferred method of nutrition for all babies. Those unwell or born prematurely and may require time on neonatal unit.
Breast milk is the best option for nutrition, growth and development for all infants. It has many benefits including, but not limited to the following:
- It boosts your baby’s immune system and protects against infections – such as gut and chest infections.
- It has antibodies from the mother – helping to protect your baby against bacteria and viruses.
- It can reduce the risk of your baby developing necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) – a serious condition that can happen in babies born premature.
- It provides other nutrients, growth factors and hormones that help your baby grow and develop during the vital early months after birth.
- It improves brain development.
- It is very easy to digest and is absorbed more easily than formula milks.
If a baby is born prematurely or is unwell, milk can be expressed as soon as possible after birth (ideally within 2 hours). The milk can fed to the baby by syringe, even if they are not yet well enough to breastfeed directly. This will ensure that your baby still gets all of the benefits from breast milk.
By setting up an expressing plan (hand/pump) soon after birth, babies who are unwell on our neonatal unit can still be fed breast milk, until they are well enough to be able to breastfeed directly. The milk supply will also be protected whist baby is not being put to the breast directly.
For more information ask your midwife.
For more information about breastfeeding your premature or sick baby, including how to get started and how to find support, Bliss is an extensive resource for parents: