bristol • north somerset • south gloucestershire


Caring for your baby at night

Infant Sleep Information Source

Coping with a crying baby


New baby immunisation

A new vaccine to prevent meningitis has been added to the routine NHS immunisation programme offered to all babies: the Men B vaccine is recommended for babies aged 2 months, followed by a second dose at 4 months, and a booster at 12 months. Find out more here.

There is also a temporary catch-up programme for babies who are due their 3- and 4-month vaccinations in September 2015, to protect them when they are most at risk from infection.

More information about the schedule for all baby, child (and adult) vaccinations can be found here.

After the birth

Cuddling your baby skin to skin straight after the birth will help him or her to adjust to life outside the womb and to start feeding. It will also encourage the hormones which help to reduce your blood loss after the birth and to let down your milk. You can usually keep holding your baby while the midwife checks if you need stitches. If you had a caesarean birth, you can often already hold your baby in theatre and you will be helped to start feeding in the recovery area. You will be given privacy to rest and get to know each other but your midwife will be checking on you and your baby regularly during the first hour after the birth.

In the Delivery Suites in both consultant-led units and in Mendip Birth Centre you will usually spend at least an hour in the room after your baby has been born. You can then either be transferred to the postnatal ward or wait to be discharged home directly from where you are - normally about 6 hours after the birth, after the first baby examination.

Partners can stay for the first night on the postnatal ward at Southmead, regardless of whether you are in a single room or the main ward; on the postnatal ward at St Michael's this may sometimes be possible if there are special circumstances and you are in a single room, at the discretion of the midwife in charge - see also Options side by side.

At Cossham Birth Centre and St Michael’s Midwife-led Unit you can usually stay in the birth room with your partner for up to 24 hours. You can then either go home or move to a postnatal ward if you need additional support. At Ashcombe Birth Centre you will be transferred to a postnatal room, where your birth partner can stay with you for the first night if you are in one of the single rooms.

At home, your midwife will stay with you for a few hours to make sure you and your baby are comfortable and to help you start feeding.

On the postnatal ward you would normally share a room with up to 3 other new mothers. Some single rooms are available, unless they are needed by women with complications, and you can pay to have one of these rooms. There are midwives and maternity care assistants to look after you on the postnatal ward who will help you with feeding and showing you how to care for your baby.

When you go home your community midwife or midwifery team will be notified and they will telephone you to organise your postnatal care. The midwife will discuss your needs with you, and if you and your baby are well, you will be offered appointments at a postnatal clinic. You will be given telephone numbers and information on when to contact the maternity service.

Postnatal care will focus on the wellbeing of you and your baby and health promotion advice will be tailored to your needs. You will be offered screening tests for your baby in line with current screening policy, so that potential health problems can be picked up early. You will be given information and will be asked for your consent for each test. You may decline if you wish. You can find out more about newborn screening here.

Usually your postnatal care in the community lasts for about ten days, after which the health visitor takes over, but maternity care can last for up to 28 days after the birth if needed. Your midwife will collect your maternity record (yellow book) from you when your care is transferred to the health visitor.