Information for parents and visitors

We understand that the admission of your baby to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a very emotional and sensitive time and the information below is practical advice and information about your baby's stay with us.

Your baby may require support and procedures that form part of their routine neonatal care and we will always keep you informed of what care we propose and involve you in decision-making. The nurse caring for your baby will explain the investigations and treatment your baby may require and give you a copy of procedures to keep and refer to over the course of your journey.

Do not hesitate to speak to a member of our team about any queries you have about your baby's treatment, or if you're unclear on anything. We also encourage you to come along to our dedicated Parent Information Sessions to help you learn more about your baby's care and ask any questions you may have.

If you are away from the NICU and want to find out about your baby, you can contact the nurse caring for them on 0121 335 8190, 24 hours a day.

Visiting for parents

When can I visit?

We do not class parents as ‘visitors’ and encourage you to spend as much time with your baby on the neonatal unit as possible. The baby's siblings are the only children permitted to visit and must be supervised at all times. Both parents and siblings are welcome to visit at any time.

There may be times when you are asked to leave your baby’s nursery and care area. This may be in instances such as an emergency, when a sterile procedure is taking place to reduce the risk of infection or to maintain your own safety (for example during an X-ray). We will always try to keep these times to a minimum and work with you to ensure the best time.

If you have a cold, cough or an upset stomach, or think you have recently been in contact with someone who has, please refrain from visiting your baby. We ask that you are clear of all symptoms for 48 hours before you return. Other infectious diseases, including chicken pox and measles could be particularly dangerous for some of our babies, so please do not visit if you have been in contact with them recently. Do not hesitate to speak to a member of our team who will advise you to the most appropriate action to take.

Infection control

Premature babies are vulnerable to infection because their immune systems are immature, so the most important thing you can do to protect your baby is to make sure that when you visit you wash your hands thoroughly when entering the NICU.

You'll notice that sinks are located opposite our NICU reception desk, along with alcohol gel available to use near the entrance of each nursery. When you leave your baby, please wash your hands again and use alcohol gel. Every member of staff is reminded to wash their hands before and after handling any baby, however please do not hesitate to remind staff.

Other visitors

Visiting times for people other than parents are 9.00am-12.00pm and 3.00pm-7.00pm

We welcome visitors, however one parent must be present with their visitors at all times and we advise that no more than three people are present at the cot-side (including parents) at any one time.

In the absence of a parent, you are welcome to nominate a visitor, however this has to be requested in writing. Your baby's safety is our utmost priority and if a parent is not present and they have not given permission for visitors, we will refuse entry to the unit.

We understand that the time for visiting may appear very restrictive, but please understand that they are designed to promote a restful environment to help your baby sleep, grow and develop.

Getting involved your baby's care

We understand that as parents, you may feel helpless and think that you cannot do anything for your baby, but please be assured that this is not the case. There are many very important things that you can do for your baby. Nurses and doctors will help, encourage and support you to be involved as much as you feel able. As you gain confidence, we hope that you will be able to be involved with many aspects of your baby’s care.

Our ward round begins at 9.00am. The speed of the ward round will vary according to how poorly our babies are at the time. During this time you'll have the opportunity to meet the doctors, tell them about your baby’s progress and any concerns and ask any questions you may have. If you are unable to be present and wish to talk to a doctor, please ask the nurse caring for your baby, who will arrange a suitable time for you.

What to bring

Please bring in your baby’s toiletries (nappies, nappy sacks and baby clothes). You are welcome to bring presents for your baby, but please be aware of some restrictions below.

  • Latex (stretchy rubber) balloons are not permitted as some people may have a latex allergy
  • Flowers are not permitted because water in a vase can develop a bacterium that can cause infection
  • Please keep cuddly toys to a minimum and ensure that they have been washed before being brought to the unit to reduce the risk of infection
  • We would appreciate you keeping the area around your baby’s cot-side tidy, so our nurses can easily access your baby

Please note that the hospital cannot accept responsibility for any loss of or damage to personal property.


NICU facilities

You are a valued member of your baby's healthcare team and we encourage you to take part in his or her care as much as possible while in hospital.

You can use our parent lockers to store your belongings (these require a £1 coin to operate), and cloakroom for your outdoor clothing. Our ward clerks will guide you to both these facilities. For mothers who wish to breastfeed, we provide a dedicated room, along with the equipment you'll need to 'express' breast milk so that your baby can be fed through a nasogastric tube (if necessary).

Our Parent Lounge has a comfortable seating area where you can access refreshments and find toys for siblings and also watch TV. Please ensure that you refrain from taking any hot drinks into your baby’s nursery and make sure that children are always supervised by an adult.

We also have one unisex toilet for both parents and visitors near our reception area.

Going home

Illustration of a nurse with a baby Our team will begin to prepare for your baby’s discharge as soon as possible. Sometimes at the time of discharge, your baby may have ongoing needs like oxygen or tube feeding. In these cases, a detailed discharge plan will be put together to help you feel comfortable looking after your baby safely at home.

We hope that you will become confident and actively involved in your baby’s care throughout your baby’s journey in our Neonatal lntensive Care Unit (NICU) so that at the time of discharge you feel fully equipped to take your baby home. Before discharge ward staff will ensure that you feel confident in caring for your baby. They will provide support advice and guidance on feeding and all aspects of parent craft, including how to give any medicine your baby may need.

Before going home your baby will be fully breast or bottle-fed, and gaining weight. Before you leave, the nurse will also check that we have the correct discharge address and that your baby is registered with a GP. If you have any specific concerns regarding taking your baby home, please talk with the nurse looking after your baby.

Baby Clinic (outpatient department)

Once your baby has been sent home, they may need to come back to hospital with you as an outpatient to be seen by our Baby Clinic team, which is located on the ground floor of the Women's Hospital.

Here we see babies who have been looked after on NICU, Transitional Care or the postnatal wards. Our department consists of a reception, a waiting area, a weighing and treatment room and four consulting rooms. You’ll have access to a visitor toilet with baby changing facilities and we also have a private room available if you wish to breastfeed your baby there.

If you need to change or cancel your baby's appointment time or date, please contact us as soon as possible on 0121 335 8192. Alternatively, you can call our medical secretaries on 0121 335 8199.