Neonatal Unit

Neonatal Unit mural

Some babies may require special medical or nursing care in the Neonatal Unit. It is located on the second floor of the Maternity Hospital and can be accessed by either the stairs or lifts.

There are three areas in the Neonatal Unit:

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU): capacity of 10 cots
  • High Dependency Unit (HDU): capacity of 10 cots
  • Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU): capacity of nine cots

You may know in advance that your baby will be admitted to the Neonatal Unit or it may be a decision taken shortly after your baby’s birth. Staff from the unit and postnatal area will support you and keep you fully informed about your baby.

We are happy for you to phone at any time to ask about your baby (see Contact us below). Please be aware that we can only give information to parents, unless we have permission from a parent to inform other named family members.

Visiting arrangements are available at the bottom of this page.

Being with your baby

As parents, you are the most important people in your baby’s life and vital members of the neonatal team. You are encouraged to visit at any time. You are not ‘visitors’.

We welcome you to spend as much time as possible with your baby in the unit.

We also want you to be as involved as possible in your baby’s care.

Parents and baby in the Neonatal Unit

What you can do

Protect your baby

Babies in the Neonatal Unit are very vulnerable to infection. You can protect them by ensuring you and any visitors wash your hands thoroughly:

  • when entering the unit
  • before and after touching your baby
  • when leaving the unit

Do not come to the Neonatal Unit if you are unwell.

Express your breast milk / breastfeed

If your baby has been born early, very small, very ill, or with other medical problems, you may be asked to consider expressing your breast milk.

This will protect your baby from infection and provide many other benefits for both you and your baby. See Feeding your baby for further information.

Video: Why colostrum is vital for premature babies’ health.

Talk, read or sing to your baby

Your voice:

  • comforts your baby
  • helps you bond with one another
  • helps your baby’s brain development
Mother and baby in the Neonatal Unit
Provide essential care

Get involved in:

  • changing nappies
  • washing your baby
  • feeding your baby

Staff will assist you until you become confident doing these things alone.

Kangaroo care (skin to skin contact)

Skin to skin contact has many benefits, including:

  • stabilising your baby’s breathing, heart rate and temperature
  • improving your baby’s sleep and growth
  • improving your breast milk supply
  • reducing the stress levels of both you and your baby

Skin to skin contact between mother and baby in the Neonatal Unit

Contact us

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit:

  • 028 9615 0570
  • 028 9615 0571
  • 028 9615 0572

High Dependency Unit:

  • 028 9615 0560
  • 028 9615 0561

Special Care Baby Unit:

  • 028 9615 6591

  • Visiting arrangements

    Grandparents are allowed to visit between 2pm and 7pm.

    The baby’s brothers and sisters may visit between 2pm and 5pm on a Sunday afternoon. We ask that pre-school children do not visit between September and March as the risk of bronchiolitis is highest during these months. Bronchiolitis can be a very serious illness for babies in the neonatal unit.

    Up to two additional nominated adults (including great grandparents) may visit between 5pm and 7pm. The nominated people can only be changed in exceptional circumstances. We have to ensure the safety and security of babies in the unit and having different visitors makes this difficult.

    To avoid overcrowding around cots, we ask that you restrict visitors to two at any time.