Your premature baby's time in hospital

If your baby is born prematurely, she may need to spend some time in hospital.

While your baby is in hospital – whether the stay lasts for days, weeks or even months – much of your life is likely to revolve around the baby unit. Precisely how long this goes on for will depend on your baby's gestational age, how developed they are and whether they have health problems.

After the initial shock of seeing your baby in the unit, you will become more familiar with the hospital environment, and will gradually understand how the baby unit works.

You may continue to feel very upset and anxious about your baby, but over time you will gradually adapt to your new circumstances and start to focus on developing your own vital role in supporting your baby's care.

The baby unit

Caring for your baby

  • Mother holding baby to her chest.

    Kangaroo care

    Skin-to-skin contact with your premature baby is a wonderful way for you both to bond. It also provides health benefits.

  • Mother holding premature baby.

    Caring for your baby: your role

    You will play an important part in your premature baby's care, even while they are in the NICU.

  • Premature baby using feeding equipment.

    Feeding your premature baby

    Your premature baby's diet will be carefully balanced to suit their tiny digestive system while meeting the needs of their growing body.

  • Premature baby in incubator.

    Positioning your premature baby

    Positioning your premature baby correctly can make them feel secure, improve their breathing ability, strengthen their muscles and reduce the risk of cot death.

Treatment and medical support your baby may have

Last reviewed on July 1st, 2014. Next review date July 1st, 2017.

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