Keeping mothers and babies together
Most babies will stay with their mums in hospital after birth. The amount of time depends on any help and support you and your baby might need.
Most of the time we keep mum and baby together on the postnatal ward where we can monitor your health.
Some babies may need extra care in the neonatal unit.
Whatever happens after your baby is born, we will plan any immediate care and support with you.
The support plan will be part of your baby's clinical record.
The support plan provides a record of:
- the care you and your baby recieve
- any observations or tests
- any other planned care
Extra care and support
Babies who need extra care and support on the postnatal ward include those who need:
- phototherapy for jaundice
- extra observations including blood sugar monitoring
- and babies born between 34 to 37 weeks or are small with a weight that is under 2.5kg.
Observations are an important part of your baby's care. They tell us how they're doing, and if there's anything we need to act on.
We’ll check your baby’s temperature, breathing, and heart rate every two hours for at least 12 hours.
Some babies find it difficult to maintain their body temperature. Things like skin-to-skin contact, using a heated mattress or a short session under a resuscitaire can help.
We will check babies receiving antibiotics or phototherapy for jaundice every four hours.
We'll ask you to write down how often your baby is feeding on a chart.
The feeding chart will tell us if your baby needs any other help.
Blood sugar monitoring
Some babies need regular blood sugar checks.
This includes babies who are born early, small babies, and babies at risk of low blood sugars.
We check blood sugar levels by taking a drop of blood from your baby’s heel before their feed.
With regular feeding, the blood sugar level usually stabilises.
We will weigh your baby on day three if their weight is less than 2.5kg at birth.
For babies who weigh more than 2.5kg at birth this will be on day five.
We'll do a head-to-toe check before your baby leaves the hospital, usually within the first 3 days of life.
If you have any concerns please talk to a member of staff.
Some babies will need more specialist care in the neonatal unit if they are really ill.
We will discuss the move with you first so you can ask us any questions about your baby's care.
You may notice an orange sticker on your baby’s notes and on their cot.
The orange sticker helps our staff to identify babies who need:
- extra observations
- blood sugar tests
- support with feeding.
We usually remove the sticker after 12 hours, and we'll talk to you if your baby needs more care and support.
We don't want to keep you in hospital longer than necessary, so you'll be able to go home when:
- you baby's observations are stable
- they are feeding well
- and all other treatments such as antibiotics or phototherapy for jaundice are complete
Questions or concerns
If you have any questions or concerns about your baby's care, you can speak to:
- your nurse or midwife
- the midwife or nurse in charge of the area
Our neonatal doctors can also answer any concerns you may have about your support plan.
- Edith Ward (birth centre and midwifery led unit) 020 8869 2930
- Florence Ward (postnatal and consultant-led maternity ward) 020 8869 2910
- Neonatal unit 020 8869 2900 or 020 8869 2902
We are always looking to improve the care we provide so any feedback is welcome:
- Email us at with the subject Keeping mothers and babies together
- Or speak to our PALS team