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Ipswich Hospital Neonatal Unit

Welcome to the Neonatal Unit on Framlingham Ward at Ipswich Hospital

We appreciate that this is a very difficult time for you. Having your baby admitted to the Neonatal Unit is always a bit of a shock. Whether your baby is born prematurely or needs neonatal care for another reason, it is always helpful to find out as much information as you can. Having a good understanding of what care your baby requires will also help you cope with this difficult situation.

This information is a guide for all parents and families, to help you through your baby’s journey on the Neonatal Unit, to give you a better understanding of the situation you are in and to try a make a very stressful time a little easier.

We are a Level 2 Neonatal Unit in the Eastern Region and we provide Intensive care, High Dependency, Special Care and Transitional Care to premature and sick newborn babies.  We have 2 Intensive Care cots, 3 High Dependency cots and 13 Special Care cots.

We have an Intensive Care/High Dependency nursery, a Special Care nursery and 2 separate isolation cubicles.

Contact Ipswich Hospital NNU reception desk

Please do not phone the unit during handover times 7.30am to 8am and 7.30pm to 8pm

01473 703 070

Contact Ipswich Hospital NNU Intensive Care

Please do not phone the unit during handover times 7.30am to 8am and 7.30pm to 8pm

01473 702 723

Contact Ipswich Hospital NNU Special Care

Please do not phone the unit during handover times 7.30am to 8am and 7.30pm to 8pm

01473 702 719

Take a virtual tour of the NNU at Ipswich Hospital

Ipswich Hospital Neonatal Unit video for parents (The video opens in a new window which takes you to YouTube where accessibility controls may not be supported)

Family integrated care

We encourage you, as new parents, to be fully involved in the care of your baby from the start. The goal of family integrated care is to create a partnership between you and the neonatal nurses.

We encourage you to spend extended periods of time with your baby on the unit, interacting with your baby, gaining knowledge, skills and confidence, so that you can be fully involved in the care of your baby.

As parents, you are the most important people in the care of your baby. Your baby will greatly benefit from your care and attention, and as you grow more and more confident in the Neonatal Unit environment, we will encourage you to participate more and more in your baby’s care, gradually reducing our nursing supervision.

The neonatal team

Your baby will be cared for by our dedicated team of professionals specialized in the care of the neonate:

  • Consultants
  • Registrars
  • Junior doctors
  • Nurses who are qualified in intensive care nursing (eg ventilated babies)
  • Special care trained nurses
  • Nursery nurses
  • Health Care Assistants
  • The Neonatal Outreach Team


Staff will introduce themselves to you day by day.

Your baby will be allocated to a consultant on admission to the Neonatal Unit who will follow your baby’s journey and keep you updated on your baby’s progress.

Every morning and evening, a nurse will be assigned to your baby to assist you in taking care of your baby, and to help you with anything you may need. The nurse will keep you up to date with any plans or changes in care and are there to help and support you at all times. If there is anything at all that you do not understand or you are worried about, do not hesitate to ask.

We have a wider Multi-Disciplinary Team who visit the ward:

  • occupational therapists
  • speech and language therapists
  • psychologists
  • physiotherapists
  • radiologists
  • pharmacists
  • dieticians
  • hearing screening team


Student nurses and midwives come to work on placement as part of their training and student doctors may attend to observe and learn.

All hospital staff wear a uniform and an identity badge.

There is a photo board at the entrance of the unit to introduce you to all of the staff on our ward.

Ward rounds

Ward rounds are carried out every morning and are led by a consultant or an experienced registrar. We encourage you to be involved in this discussion about your baby’s care. This is also an opportunity for you to ask the doctors any questions you may have.

We ask that you wear headphones whilst the team are seeing other babies (or leave the nursery), to respect the privacy of the other babies and their families. This also applies during the half-hour nursing handover between 7.30am to 8am and 7.30pm to 8pm.

If you wish to speak to a doctor at any other time, please ask a member of staff.

Developmental care

It is important that you are involved in your baby’s care as early as possible. In order to promote an environment that is beneficial to your baby’s development, we aim to keep noise levels as low as possible. We have a protected quiet time on the unit between 2pm and 4pm to encourage rest. It is important for your baby to rest, as he or she needs to save energy in order to grow and become stronger. Long periods of rest are encouraged between care and feeds, especially if your baby is having procedures done.

The nursing team will teach you how to comfort your baby with containment holding. You will find that your baby calms very quickly. You will also be encouraged to have skin-to-skin or kangaroo care with your baby. This is an extremely positive experience for both you and your baby.

We use positioning aids in the cot or incubator to support your baby in the correct position for good development.  If you need help or advice about the positioning aids, just speak to the nurse looking after your baby.

What you need to provide

Whilst your baby is on the Neonatal Unit, you are expected to provide nappies, cotton wool and cotton buds for use in your baby’s care. You are also required to provide clothing once your baby is nursed in a cot.

You may place a blanket and one pre-washed soft toy in your baby’s incubator or cot – please take these home to wash at least once a week.

If your baby is bottle feeding you will need to provide bottles (the unit has sterilising tanks). Please bring in your own bottles as early as possible so that your baby can get used to the teats.

Feeding your baby

Whichever way you choose to feed your baby we will support your decision. We would, however, stress that breast milk is the best for your baby, and even if you are not planning to breast feed in the long term, it would benefit your baby to receive your milk in the short term.

Please ask your baby’s nurse for help if you need any support with feeding your baby.

We have information leaflets available on your chosen method of feeding and there is also information in the parent information folders located in the kitchen.

Parents facilities

We have space on the Unit for up to 8 mothers to stay at any one time. Our parent bay has 6 beds for mothers and we have 2 single parent rooms where mothers and partners can stay together.

We do have to prioritise these rooms depending on the needs of the babies, we may need you to move out of the room so that we can move another parent in.

Meals are provided for mothers who are staying on the unit.  Breakfast is available in the parent kitchen.  The lunch and dinner menu is brought to the unit each morning for you to order your meals.  The meals are delivered to the Unit at noon and 5pm.  In the parent kitchen there is a fridge, microwave, toaster and kettle so that you can prepare your own meals and snacks if you prefer.

The baby feeding room is behind the reception desk for you to express breast milk or to feed your baby in privacy. We have electric breast pumps that you can use to express and a kit will be provided for you.

The milk kitchen is opposite the feeding room. There is a fridge and freezer to store your breast milk. Tanks for sterilising are provided by the Unit but you need to provide your own bottles. It is the responsibility of the parent to change the sterilising tank solution daily.

The Quiet Room is used for sensitive discussions between consultants, doctors, nurses and parents or for you to have some alone time with your family. It should not be used as a general sitting area. There are books and toys in the Quiet Room for the baby’s siblings to play with. Please do not leave your children unattended.

Security and privacy

We have an open access policy for parents and siblings on the Neonatal Unit so that you can be with your baby whenever you wish. We may ask you to leave the nursery when sensitive information about another baby is discussed, but we keep these times to an absolute minimum.

All other family and friends are only permitted during visiting hours. All visitors should be accompanied by one of the baby’s parents, unless you have completed a parent care plan giving other people permission to visit without you being present.

There is a security system in place which requires everyone entering and leaving the Unit to request access. You will be asked for your name and your baby’s 4-digit hospital number for added security

The Unit’s doors are secured and monitored by CCTV.  Please be careful not to let anyone in with you who you do not know.

Infection control

It is very important that the risks to your baby are reduced, therefore. anyone touching your baby must wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately before touching the baby – this includes parents, visitors, nurses, doctors and any other healthcare professionals who come into contact with your baby. Do not be afraid to ask people if you are unsure that they have clean hands.

Having a clean environment is also essential.  This includes having clean, washed clothing and bed linen. If your baby has a soft toy in their incubator or cot, you should take this home and wash it in a machine at least once a week. Please speak to a member of staff immediately if you are unhappy about the cleanliness of the unit.

Everyone in the family wants to come and meet your new baby, but try to keep your visitors to a minimum. All visitors must be:

  • feeling well
  • free from coughs, colds, sneezes
  • at least 48 hours free from any sickness and diarrhoea

People who want to visit MUST NOT do so if they have:

  • any infectious illnesses
  • COVID-19 or other respiratory infections
  • confirmed hospital acquired infections such as MRSA
  • cold sores

Your own baby may be on the road to recovery but there will be other babies on the unit that are much more vulnerable to infection.

Siblings are very welcome on the unit but please be vigilant about illnesses that they may have been in contact with through school and nursery (for example sickness, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, chicken pox).

Parent information

There are lots of sources of information for parents on the Neonatal Unit. First and foremost, please speak to the nurses or doctors. They will be able to provide you with any information about your baby’s care. You will be given a parent information pack when your baby is admitted to the unit. Please read your parent information pack carefully as this provides you with lots of information about the care of your baby on the Neonatal Unit.

There is a parent information folder situated in the entrance area and one in the parent kitchen, along with lots of information displays.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask any member of the neonatal team.

The Neonatal Outreach Team

The Neonatal Outreach Team are a team of experienced nurses based on the unit. They work in partnership with you as parents to support you and your baby at home after discharge from the unit.

The team will assess your baby’s needs whilst they are on the Neonatal Unit and will identify whether they can offer you any further support or assistance in making your transition to caring for your baby at home any easier for you. They will arrange to meet with you on the unit prior to discharge to discuss your baby’s needs, and will make a plan of care to support you at home. Not all babies will require outreach team support.

Community midwives and health visitors

We notify your community midwife and your health visitor about your baby’s discharge from hospital and they will make contact with you.

A summary of your baby’s Neonatal Unit stay will be sent out to your GP and you will also be given a copy of this letter to keep in your Child Health Record (red book) for your own information.

Basic life support

We would strongly encourage all parents to develop the skills of basic life support for babies.  We hold training sessions on the unit and you can book a place by speaking to the nurse looking after your baby.


The hospital chaplains support people of all faiths and provide a 24 hour on-call service. The chapel is situated in the north zone and is open day and night for quiet prayer and contemplation. You can contact the chaplains through the hospital switchboard on 01473 712 233.  If you would like your baby to be baptised on the Neonatal Unit, the chaplains will be delighted to attend.

Comments, compliments or complaints about your care

Please raise any concerns in the ward or department you are in. Ask to speak with the ward sister, matron or ward manager. If your concerns cannot be resolved or  wish to make a formal complaint, please contact PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service).

We welcome all feedback about the care your baby has had on our unit.  Staff will give you a code to access our Friends and Family Test survey.  We use your (anonymous) feedback to make changes to the facilities we provide and to improve our service.




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