Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) (Neonatal Unit): Frequently asked questions

Bringing your baby home

What weight does my baby have to be?

There is no magic weight for going home.

He or she will be ready to go home if:

  • His or her breathing is stable
  • He or she is feeding by breast or bottle responsively
  • He or she is gaining weight steadily, and
  • He or she can maintain their temperature in a cot

What will I need to take my baby home?

We will give you plenty of warning that your baby is nearly ready for home.

You will be taught to care for your baby at home - things like:

  • Bathing
  • Feeding
  • Making up feeds
  • Giving medication

You will be invited to 'room in' with your baby, to care for him or her for 24-48 hours, with staff support if needed.

I have twins, can one go home before the other?

Yes.

If one is much further ahead than the other, it's likely that that baby will go home before his or her sibling.

The other twin may return with you to visit.

What support will I have at home?

Your Health Visitor will be your main support once you are home.

He or she will have been regularly updated on your baby's progress during your baby's stay in the Neonatal Unit.

Hopefully, you will have met or made contact with them before going home.

They will visit you at home within 48 hours of your discharge.

Your baby will then be followed up regularly at clinic visits.

What follow-up will my baby have?

If your baby was born before 32 weeks, and if they weighed 1.5Kg (3lb 5oz) or less, generally they will have follow-up appointments from around 6-8 weeks after discharge, right up until they are at least two years old; some will be seen right up to school age.

Babies who have had specific medical problems will also have follow-up appointments.

If my baby becomes unwell, will he or she come back to the Neonatal Unit?

No; if your baby needs to be re-admitted to hospital, he or she will be admitted to the Children's Unit at Great Western Hospital.

Your baby's development

What is 'corrected age'?

This is the age a baby would have been if they had been delivered at full term, or the age calculated from your estimated date of delivery.

What is the corrected age used for?

This is used when monitoring premature babies' physical and speech development, such as sitting, walking and talking.

It is also used for deciding when to wean a baby and introduce solid foods.

What is the actual age used for?

This is used for immunisations.

When do you stop correcting the age?

When your child is two years old.

Further information

Please see Information for parents and parents-to-be.

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