For parents and carers

We understand that having your baby in one of our Neonatal Units, like the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Nurseries (SCN) can be a very difficult time for you and your family.

Being separated from your baby and unable to take them home is overwhelming.

We want to make this as easy and smooth an experience as possible, so please let us know the how we can help you and your family in providing the best care to your baby.

Family Integrated Care (FICare)

Neonatology is committed to providing high quality family-integrated care (FICare).

The goal of FICare is to support the partnership between parents and staff, promote parent-baby interactions and to build parent confidence.

FICare places parents at the centre of care giving for their baby and strives to:

  • ensure parents are involved in the decision making and care for their baby
  • empower parents to participate in their baby’s care by providing learning opportunities for care such as mouth-care, cleaning, washing, feeding and kangaroo-care
  • promote the parent-baby bond
  • prepare families for discharge.

What to expect in a Neonatal Unit

The Neonatal Unit can be overwhelming for parents as there are many pieces of equipment, monitoring screens and alarms.

The staff looking after your baby will explain what treatment, equipment and monitoring your baby needs.

Your baby will generally be in an incubator or heated cot to help regulate their body temperature, they may have a ventilator that assists breathing (in NICU primarily) and machines to deliver fluids and medicines via tubes directly into their body. Monitors are usually attached to the baby’s body so that their heart rate, breathing rate and blood oxygen levels can be checked.

Coming to see your baby

Each hospital has different visiting and entry requirements. Please check these before you visit as they are subject to change.

If you are unwell

As premature and sick babies have limited defence to fight infection, please do not enter the units if you or anyone in your household have a:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • cold or flu-like symptoms
  • any other infectious symptoms including diarrhoea and vomiting.

Or you are required to isolate.

If unsure, please speak to one of our staff before entering the unit. Staff have a duty to ensure all people in the unit are well and will ask parents who are unwell not to visit.

Please wash your hands upon arriving at the area your baby is in. There is an alcohol-based hand sanitiser provided near your baby’s bedside for everyone to use, prior to and after touching your baby. This is one of the most important ways you can protect your baby from infection.

If you are unable to visit

If you are unwell or unable to visit, we will ensure that you can stay in touch with your baby. 

You can call the units and speak to your baby's nurse or treating clinician.

Read our When you are unable to visit the Neonatal Care Unit information sheet.


FamCam is a video call service that allows you to interact with your baby via a personal device. It is for parents only, but you can invite family and friends to join the call. Please speak to your nurse about booking a call with your baby.

View the FamCam information sheet and guide.


It is still recommended that you breastfeed your baby even if you are unable to visit.

Read our:

Going home


Going home: Physio support for your preterm baby

Read more of our guidance and support when taking your baby home from the Neonatal Care Unit.

Useful resources

Visit the Neonatology resource library for more resources.

Last Updated: 27/05/2022