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Section 1 - Introduction

Introduction to this guide

Congratulations on the birth of your new baby and thank you for accessing our guide to the neonatal unit.

The neonatal unit can be an overwhelming experience for parents.  We made this guide to help you through your baby’s journey in the neonatal unit, and to help you to understand some of the things that you and your baby might experience in the neonatal unit and when your baby goes home.

We hope that this guide will help you to become familiar with some of the medical terms that are used in the neonatal unit. We also hope that this guide will help you to take part in your baby’s care in the neonatal unit. 

This guide is divided into separate sections, and you can access them below or from the menu at the side: 

- 1 -


- 2 -

Coping with your baby in the neonatal unit and supports

- 3 -

Neonatal care

- 4 -

Getting to know your baby in the neonatal unit

- 5 -

Caring for your baby in the neonatal unit

- 6 -

Your baby’s nutrition and growth in the neonatal unit and at home

- 7 -

Preparing for your baby’s discharge home

- 8 -

Your baby at home

- 9 -

Recognising when your baby is unwell and common issues at home

- 10 -

Your baby’s development at home

- 11 -

Understanding medical care in the neonatal unit​

- 12 -

Reference information​

You are essential in your baby’s care  and we want you to be involved as much as possible.  If at any point you do not understand anything, please let the staff looking after your baby know.  Never hesitate to ask questions.

We appreciate that this is a difficult time for you.  Your plans for your new baby probably didn’t include time in the neonatal unit. Staff will do everything to help support you during your baby’s stay in the neonatal unit and during their discharge home.

Please note

  • All babies are different and so the information may not always apply to your individual baby.
  • Practices in other neonatal units may differ.

“This booklet was our bible and made us believe we were on a path travelled by others. It gave us invaluable guidance and above all else hope”