Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

What We Learned on Trip around Baby Unit

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

What We Learned on Trip around Baby Unit

Article excerpt

Byline: BETHANY LODGE @bethlodge1

SPENDING the first days of their baby's life on a neonatal ward is a scenario every parent dreads.

The Gazette was taken around North Tees University Hospital's unit in Stockton to find out what it was really like to work with premature and poorly babies.

We found a harmonious "little family" where parents could spend time bonding with their children who made dramatic appearances into the world.

Ward matron Debbie Bryan and team leader Denise Carr took some time out from their busy days to show us around.

Here are nine things we learned. | | Babies can stay for months The longest a baby has lived on the unit was six months - but that is only the case when babies are born very poorly, Debbie said. There are often celebrations when a baby turns 100 days old on the unit.

If a child is discharged then needs readmission to hospital, they will not return to the ward but will be looked after by paediatrics.

| Parents are encouraged to be hands-on "We try to get as much parental involvement as possible," said Debbie.

"That's one of the biggest things that has changed - you don't just have to look through a screen anymore."

There are several rooms that have been kitted out thanks to a grant from charity, Bliss, with sofa beds so parents can stay overnight on the unit if their babies are very ill or they come from further afield.

| Some parents have to start from scratch There is a small cupboard full of baby clothes for parents who have been caught out by an unexpectedly early birth.

First-time mum Katie Craigie, 25, from Hartlepool, welcomed her tiny baby Isla five weeks early. Isla weighed just 3lb at birth, but Katie is hoping to take her daughter home in the coming days. She said: "She had stopped growing and I had preeclampsia. I just went in to do my birthing plan and they sent me straight here.

"I was induced and then they sent me for an emergency Caesarean.

"She gets visitors every day and I can do the night feeds. I've loved every second of being here. It's like a little family. Everyone wants to talk to you and know your story. …

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