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Neonatal Unit Parent Information

Welcome to the Neonatal Unit

Our Philosophy:

“Partners in care, sharing your journey through the Neonatal Unit, helping you and your family along the way by delivering safe and compassionate care every time.”

Your baby has been admitted to the Neonatal Unit because they have been born prematurely or unwell, and we recognise that this can be a worrying time for parents and families. The neonatal nursing team are here to support and reassure you that your baby is receiving the very best of care. We hope this parent pack will provide you with useful information for you to refer to during your baby’s stay.

Parents are encouraged, with support, to participate in all aspects of their baby’s care, including skin to skin care. Please provide nappies and cotton wool for your baby. Clothes, blankets and a soft toy are optional.

Please note your baby may move nurseries and also cot spaces within nurseries. Please ensure you note which nursery your baby is in so you can speak to the appropriate nurse if you telephone the Unit. Nurses are available to update you about the care of your baby at any time but should you wish to speak to a doctor they are available on the ward round every morning from 9.30am onwards.

Infection Control

Infection control is important for the health and wellbeing of everyone so that we can reduce Healthcare associated infections. For this reason we have infection control procedures in place.

All people coming onto the unit should wash their hands with soap and water, dry them thoroughly and then use the hand gel. Outside coats should be removed and left on the pegs provided before entering the unit.

Visitors should ensure they are well and free from infections to avoid the babies becoming unwell. We also advise you to limit the number of visitors if your baby is unwell.

Your baby is special and cuddles are precious, so to reduce the risks of infection please consider saving cuddles for parents only, especially when your baby is requiring Intensive or High Dependency Care.

Please be aware that all babies on the Unit will have routine weekly swabs taken on a Wednesday. Babies also get weighed twice per week on Wednesdays and Sundays. Babies on the Unit are usually weighed at ‘cares’ time when parents can be present whilst we do this unless there is a medical reason why your baby needs to be weighed sooner.


All baby records are held on a confidential computer system.

Please respect the privacy of the other babies and their families by not passing on any information that you may overhear when you are visiting the Unit.

In some exceptional circumstances you may be asked to leave the Unit if certain procedures are being undertaken.


Whilst your baby is on the Neonatal Unit he/she may need to undergo some tests, procedures or investigations. Wherever possible discussions will take place with you prior to this happening. However, in some circumstances and in the best interest of your baby this may not always be possible. We will endeavour to keep you fully informed at all times.

Friends and Family Test

Our Neonatal Unit participates in the Friends and Family Test. This is a test which shows how well we are doing and whether you would recommend us to someone you know.  If you are happy to share your email address, you will receive an email request to complete a short survey once your baby is discharged home.


We have a policy of open visiting for parents; however please do not visit if you are unwell. We encourage quiet time for the babies 12.00-2.00pm when lighting and noise are kept to a minimum.

When visiting the Unit, a bell is situated at the front door and internal doors located in the corridor.  Please be patient with us if it is not answered immediately as we may be busy dealing with your baby. When coming onto the Unit we ask that you do not let anyone else in, so please ask them to ring the bell too; this is to ensure we always know who is on the Unit and for security purposes.

You will be advised if visiting times must be modified due to restrictions that may have to be put in place otherwise visiting is as follows:

Siblings may visit after quiet time (from 2.15pm) if free from illness/sickness. No other children under 18 years are allowed on the Unit.

Open visiting from 2.15pm – 7.00pm.

Three visitors are permitted per cot space at any time, one of whom must be a parent. We have a small sitting room available for parents and their visitors to use.

We kindly ask that you and your visitors do not touch anyone else’s baby and remain with your baby only when visiting.


We encourage and support breast feeding and an admission to the Neonatal Unit does not prevent successful breast feeding.

If your baby’s condition does not allow you to breast feed straight away then support is available with expressing and we also have breast pumps for you to use on the Unit throughout your baby’s stay. While on the unit we have electric breast pumps and privacy screens available to use so you can express next to your baby or alternatively we have a room available exclusively for expressing.

If you choose to bottle feed, then we have a variety of formula milk available.

Breast pump hire/purchase

We have manual breast pumps available to purchase for £20 each.

Alternatively, an electric breast pump may be hired at a discounted rate from Medela (details below). Please quote discount code NICU30.
Telephone: 0161 776 0400

Breastfeeding Clinics

  • Aylesbury – Monday and Thursday 10am – 1pm
    Call: 01296 315799
  • Wycombe – Tuesday and Friday 10am – 1pm
    Call: 07798 520 830

Please call before attending one of the above clinics.

Feeding Supplements

Some babies need extra supplements to help promote growth and prevent anaemia. We recommend the following for all babies born at less than 35 weeks gestation who are not on a preterm milk:

A multivitamin 0.3ml once daily once full feeds established, which should continue until one year of age.

Iron supplements 1ml once daily from 28 days old which should continue until one year of age.

A supply of all medications required at home will be given to you to take home at discharge and you will be shown how to administer these medications whilst on the Neonatal Unit. Further supplies may be obtained by prescription from your GP.

Vitamin supplements are recommended for all children up to the age of five years. These can be bought over the counter after the age of one year. If your baby started supplements whilst on the Neonatal Unit, they would have been receiving them once a day. If your baby has a problem coping with the amount of supplement, you may wish to give half the dose twice a day (breakfast and teatime), but this should not generally be necessary. You should not give more than the amount prescribed and must be kept out of the reach of other children.

Give the supplements before the feed either by letting your baby suck them from a teat or a syringe. We recommend that you do not put them into the milk if bottle feeding, as your baby may not finish their feed. If your baby vomits, do not re-administer the medication. Not having the vitamin or iron for one day will not harm them and you cannot be sure that they did not receive any of the dose if they vomit.

Parent Facilities

On the Neonatal Unit:

There is a kitchen area for parents on the unit to make tea, coffee and hot chocolate (visitors can use facilities for a donation of your choice).

There is a small sitting room available for parents to relax and use whilst visiting their baby on the Unit. Siblings can also use this room whilst being supervised by an adult.

Mobile phones – Please have mobile phones on silent, if you need to make or receive a phone call please step outside the Unit to respect other parents and visitors. Taking photos of your baby and sending text messages are acceptable.

We also have vCreate available if you consent to this being used. This allows staff to send you regular photo and video updates of your baby during times when you are unable to visit. You are also free to share this link with friends and family.

Within the Hospital:

  • Vending Machine available outside the Neonatal Unit.
  • Main canteen located in the main entrance of the hospital. Open daily: 7.00am-7.45pm
  • Costa Coffee is at the entrance to A&E. Open Mon-Fri: 7.30am-7.00pm / Sat-Sun: 10.00am-5.00pm
  • A Cash Point is available at Asda or in the entrance to the Spinal Unit where there is also another restaurant. Open Mon-Fri: 9.00am -5.00pm /  Sat-Sun: 11.00am-6.00pm
  • WHSmith is located opposite the main canteen. Open Mon-Fri: 8.00am-6.00pm)

No smoking anywhere on the hospital site or car parks


“Rooming In”

Prior to discharge you will be invited to “room in”, this will be when your baby is feeding well, maintaining their own temperature in a cot and gaining weight.

We have two “rooming in” rooms available for parents to stay overnight and care for their baby/babies, which is usually offered for one or two nights prior to discharge.

Whilst “rooming in”, meals will be provided for mothers, please ask a member of staff for a menu if you wish to use this service. Alternatively, there is a fridge and a microwave on the Unit which parents are welcome to use. Please place a label on your food and drinks with your name and the date. Feel free to bring in take-aways.

Some babies will be followed up by the Neonatal Outreach team once they have been discharged home. You will meet your Outreach Nurse during your stay on the Neonatal Unit if you need to be followed up.

Please register the birth of your baby within six weeks, an appointment is needed to do this, you can make an appointment by calling:

Aylesbury: 01296 382581 
Wycombe:  01494 475200

Or online at:

Please ensure that your baby is registered with your GP surgery as soon as possible and prior to discharge. To do this you must visit your GP surgery with your birth notification form from delivery.

Support for Parents

BURPS – Baby Unit Relatives and Parents Support

BURPS is the unit’s support group that was set up in April 2000 by parents who have had a baby on the Neonatal Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Their aim is to provide support to parents who have a baby on the unit while they are going through a difficult and often bewildering experience. They are a registered charity and fund raise to provide equipment to supplement that provided by the NHS. They have monthly meetings on the unit and always welcome new members. To contact them, please see below:

Thames Valley and Wessex Neonatal Network Parent information App
Search “TVWNODN” on the app store available for both iPhone and Android phones.

Facebook: SMH NNU

Bliss Head Office, 2nd Floor, Chapter House, 18-20 Crucifix Lane, London SE1 3JW
Tel:  020 7378 1122

Nicholas House, 3 Laurence Pountney Hill, London EC4R 0BB
Tel: 020 7398 3400

The Twins and Multiple Births Association – Tamba
Lower Ground Floor & Studio, Hitherbury House, 97 Portsmouth Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4YF
Tel: 01483 304442

Compliments and Complaints
If you have any issues whilst on the Unit please feel free to discuss this with the Nurse in Charge of the shift or Matron for Neonates.
Alternatively, you can contact our PALS team (Patient Advice Liaison Service) who will be happy to help resolve any issues or register your comments.

Parking and Travel

Parking at the Hospital
Parents and carers are entitled to free parking whilst your baby is on the Neonatal Unit. To access this you will need to get a request form from the ward clerk and will be directed to the security desk in the A&E entrance where a weekly ticket will be issued, only one permit per family is permitted.

Further information about facilities at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and links to the latest public transport information can be found on our Stoke Mandeville Hospital information page


Your family’s right to have your cultural values and beliefs recognised is acknowledged.
There is a hospital Chaplain available or you are welcome to bring your own faith leader in if you would like to do so.
Find out more about how the support provided by our chaplaincy team.

Neonatal Unit Telephone Numbers

  • Reception – 01296 316113 or 01296 316115
  • Cygnet Nursery – 01296 316183
  • Duckling Nursery – 01296 316147
  • Gosling Nursery – 01296 316146

Please ask relatives not to telephone the Unit as we are unable to give out any information to them.

Family Integrated Care

During your time with us, you may be given a parent folder. Within that folder, you will find a “parent passport” which is for you to use with the nursing staff and to take home upon discharge. Amongst the topics covered within the passport is detailed information about administering any medication your baby needs at home. Breast fed preterm infants often benefit from having extra iron and vitamins and we will show you how and when, to give them.

We also use the “train to home” as a visual aid for you to fill in and chart your baby’s progress – nurses will talk you through how to use it. It includes a predicted discharge date range. A “little victories” sticker chart and skin-to–skin sticker chart is also in your parent folder for you to use if you wish. Other information may be added if necessary, following discussion between yourselves and the neonatal team.

There are copies of the “dad pad” on the Unit and fathers may find them helpful. Details of how to obtain a copy for yourselves are included – you are welcome to look at our copies but please do not remove them from the Unit.