What if my baby’s born early?

It can be a bit of a shock if your baby is born pre-term, but you’re not alone: more than 90,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK every year and are admitted to neonatal units.

When will I see my health visitor if my baby’s born prematurely?

Your public health nurse (health visitor) is there to support you and your family on your parenting journey, and will still carry out the new birth assessment visit 10 – 14 days after birth, by coming to see you on the neonatal unit (NNU). Working alongside the medical and nursing staff on the unit, public health nurses can provide emotional support, as well as practical advice on a range of issues such as breastfeeding, safe sleeping and immunisations. They can also let you know about services in your local area, or simply provide a ‘listening ear’.

Many new parents feel reassured and supported by a visit from their public health nurse (health visitor), saying it helped them to “feel normal” and “encouraged to breastfeed”.

If you don’t know the name of your public health nurse (health visitor), call 0300 3000 007 and select option 1.

Other useful numbers:

  • Leicester Royal Infirmary Neonatal Unit: 0116 2585437
  • Leicester General Hospital Neonatal Unit: 0116 2584800
  • Neonatal Unit Outreach: 0116 2584838 / 07766 121916 / 07765585358

For more information about premature birth: 

NHS Choices

Bliss – support and information for families who are experiencing or have experienced a baby in neonatal care. Bliss also run a UK-wide confidential telephone helpline: 0808 8010322 and a forum where you can share your experiences or receive support: www.bliss.org.uk/message-board

ADAPT – a small charity which provides support to families with premature and unwell babies on Leicester’s neonatal units. They also provide ongoing care and support once discharged home. You can reach their family support helpline on 07974 822835, or call 07739 504783 with general enquiries. They also have a Facebook page (@ADAPTprembaby).

ADAPT hosts a monthly coffee morning for families of babies who are or have been on the neonatal unit on the first Wednesday of every month from 10.30am -12.30pm on the neonatal unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

The In B Tweenies groups provide continued support for families once discharged home. Contact Lyndsey on 07847 264382. The groups meet:

  • Mondays: 10am -12pm at the Saffron Sure Start Centre, LE2 6QW
  • Tuesdays: 10am -12pm at the Queniborough Dance Company in Syston, LE7 1GJ
  • Second Wednesday of the month: 10am -11.30am at The Cove Sure Start Centre, Melton Mowbray, LE13 0LP
  • Fridays: 10am -12pm at Beaumont Leys Sure Start Centre, LE4 0RW

Discover more about breastfeeding premature babies here.

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Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Chat Health. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health nurse (health visitor/school nurse) within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

Leicester City: text 07520 615381

Leicestershire & Rutland: text 07520 615382

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