Supporting your babies vital needs

We want to make sure that we do not miss any vital changes in your baby's condition. We also know how important it is to let your baby rest as much as possible. With this in mind your baby will be attached to a monitor which looks like a computer screen.
The information on the monitor screen will be used to give us information such as your baby's heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels (saturations).
 All our monitors have alarm systems to warn the team that your baby's condition may have changed.  The alarms may concern you initially, but they will be attended to by a member of the Neonatal Team who are highly trained to respond quickly to any problems that may occur.
Sometimes an alarm may be activated when your baby moves or becomes detached from the monitor. This is nothing to worry about and is easily corrected.
There are other ways we monitor your baby. We regularly observe your baby's breathing patterns, temperature and how your baby responds to changes in the environment. Your baby will also regularly have a physical examination.

Keeping the baby warm:

Premature and ill babies are unable to regulate their own temperature correctly. The incubator helps with temperature control and also provides humidity around the baby. Humidity reduces the amount of water loss from the baby's skin. The temperature in the incubator is monitored continuously & can be adjusted to the baby's needs. Later on baby may be placed in a cot with a heated mattress.

Supporting the baby's breathing:

Premature and very unwell  babies may experience breathing difficulties. The following are a few of the methods which may be used to support your baby's breathing:

  • Nasal prongs: oxygen goes into the nose through little flexible tubes which are fixed by a tape across both cheeks.
  • Incubator Oxygen: oxygen goes into the incubator.
  • High flow oxygen: oxygen and air goes into the nose through little flexible tubes but at a higher rate.
  • CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure): air/ oxygen goes into the lungs through a soft mask or tube placed at the nostrils. This prevents the lungs from collapsing and helps the baby's own efforts to breathe.
  • BiPAP:. the same as CPAP but  gives two different pressures in each breath.
  • Ventilator: this is a breathing machine which provides complete breathing support for baby. A breathing tube (endotracheal tube) is placed into the breathing pipe (trachea) and connected to the ventilator.
Supporting the baby's nutrition:

Breast Milk is best for premature and ill babies.

Premature babies can't coordinate their sucking & swallowing.  Small amounts of milk will be given through a tube which goes into the nose / mouth and then into the stomach.   This is a naso/ oro-gastric tube feed.

If your baby can suck, then we encourage breast feeding. Sometimes the milk can be fed to baby by a little cup. We use donated  breast milk sometimes but only if you agree. This donated breast milk will have been tested for infections before being pasteurised.

You will be encouraged to participate in feeding your baby using the feeding tubes.

Your baby's weight will be regularly checked.

Vitamins, iron & other things like calcium, phosphate, sodium and potassium may be added to the feeds if necessary.  If extra calories are needed, we can add them to the breast milk.

If we cannot use breast milk, we will give baby specially prepared formula milks.