Parents & Carers

As Parents & Carers, you are the most important people in your baby’s life and you
know your baby best. But being on a neonatal unit can be a very worrying and
overwhelming experience. The neonatal team will help you to develop the confidence,
knowledge and skills to be involved in your baby’s care, looking after your baby day-today
on the neonatal unit as well as being involved in all of the decisions about your
baby’s care. This active involvement in your baby’s care, known as Family Integrated
Care or Family Centred Care, has been shown to lead to better outcomes for both the
baby and the family as it:
– Reduces parental/carer stress
– Reduces stress in your baby
– Enables more successful breastfeeding
– Helps you recognise your baby’s cues
– Results in fewer infections
– Improves baby’s growth & development
– Leads to earlier discharge
– Helps you bond with your baby

The Parent Advisory Group members care about families going through neonatal
journeys because we’ve experienced first-hand what a difficult environment it is and
recognise those things that can really support families during this time. We are
passionate about Family Integrated Care (FIC) because of its power to improve not only
the neonatal experience but also the lifelong benefits it brings for the babies and their

Here are our top tips for families with a baby or babies on a neonatal unit:

  1. Get involved in your baby’s care; this will help you bond with your baby and
    start to understand your baby’s cues
  2. Talk to your baby as much as you can; your baby will be soothed and
    comforted by your voice. You could sing, read stories or even bring recordings of
    other family members such as siblings who may be unable to visit.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your baby; it is your baby and you
    need to understand and be involved in their care
  4. Trust your parental instincts; you are the experts of your baby and if you are
    worried about your baby, let the nurse or consultant know your concerns
  5. Be kind & gentle to yourselves: it can be hard on a neonatal unit to think about
    yourself! But it is important to make sure that your needs are met too. Different
    families need different things to support themselves during a neonatal stay – do
    what feels right for you. But some things families find helpful are having snacks
    on hand, drinking plenty of water, taking some time away from the unit, getting
    some fresh air, talking to friends or family & talking to other families on the
    neonatal unit
  6. Accept help from friends and family; this could be them offering to cook some
    meals, clean your house, prepare snack parcels, look after older siblings or give
    you lifts to the hospital
  7. Mark your baby’s milestones; it is important to celebrate these moments such
    as baby’s first bath, baby’s due date or the day baby breathes on their own. Many
    families like to use milestone cards which units can provide – or you can get
    some free from Bliss.
  8. Ask for support with your mental health; having a baby on a neonatal unit can
    be an incredibly difficult and worrying time for families. It is not unusual to be
    feeling scared, anxious, overwhelmed or depressed. Please know that you are not
    alone in feeling this way. If you are struggling with any of these feelings, it is
    important that you speak to someone. Some units have peer support groups and
    you might find speaking to someone with a similar experience who understands
    what you are going through helpful. Some units have dedicated counsellors and
    some have chaplaincy teams. Speak to a member of the neonatal team to ask
    what support is available on your unit. If you need urgent help with your mental
    health call your emergency GP service, go to A&E or call The Samaritans on 116

The Parent Advisory Group (PAG) is a group of parents/carers who have used neonatal services in the past. The group represents the views and experiences of parents and families whose babies have been cared for in a neonatal unit and play a vital role in driving forward improvements and changes in neonatal care in the region. For more information including finding out how to become a PAG member, please email EoENeonatalPAG@gmail.com

The Parent Advisory Group currently have a rolling recruitment. We welcome members from all backgrounds and experiences and who identify as parents or carers including mothers, fathers, birthing parents and non-birthing parents or partners. We are particularly interested in hearing from parents & carers who are from the following underrepresented communities: young parents/carers, working-class backgrounds, care leavers,  those with physical health/disability or sensory impairments, and those from the LGBTQIA+, and Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities or traveller communities.


“Your voice is powerful  – your views matter!
The East of England Care Coordinator Team would love to hear about your experience (good or not so good) to help shape the service of Neonatal Care across the Region.  Help make the service the best it can be for babies and families like yourselves”
Thank you for your time – it makes a difference


Alternatively please use the link below


Website Translation Service

A Stay in Neonatal Care

Preparing to take your baby home

Transfer Closer to Home: The Neonatal Repatriation of Your Baby-Video shared by South West Neonatal ODN

National Neonatal Audit Program

Neonatal Charities




Twin and Multiple Births

Breast feeding

  • Please click here for the UNICEF breastfeeding resources

Neonatal Deaths

Family Integrated Care



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