Deinze - Neonatal Unit

Birth and your baby’s stay

Please note:

This info only applies to the neonatal unit of St Vincent General Hospital in Deinze.

Care for the child by the paediatrician sometimes starts before, but for every child from birth.

Paediatrician at delivery

Paediatrician at delivery

At the request of the gynaecologist, a paediatrician attends any delivery where there is an increased risk of complications at birth. At birth or shortly afterwards, the paediatrician on duty examines the newborn and follows up daily during the stay in at our maternity unit.

During the short maternity stay, we will try to give you as much information as possible and help you get to know your baby.

Reasons for admission

Reasons for admission

In case of problems during and shortly after birth (prematures of less than 36 weeks, very low birth weight, an infection, respiratory problems...), the baby is admitted to the N* department where the paediatrician continues to monitor the baby. The reason why your baby is staying on this ward can be very different.

  • Perhaps he or she was born prematurely.
  • Perhaps the delivery was difficult and the baby needs to recover a bit.
  • The baby is a bit sick.
  • The baby shows abnormal behaviour.
  • Your baby had already been in your room for a few days, but it did not go as well as expected. Therefore, your baby moves to the neonatal unit for a while.

The department

The department

Our neonatal unit consists of:

  • the dressing room
  • the visitors' area with glass wall and separate entrance
  • the incubator room
  • and room for babies in a cot.

When you visit for the first time, you may be overwhelmed by the surroundings. Small stickers are placed on your baby's chest and abdomen, connected by a cable to a monitor to monitor breathing and heart rate. The monitor immediately produces an alarm when values are too high or too low.

Some babies need some extra oxygen and are given an oxygen balloon or flow meter. The oxygen level in the blood is then monitored through an electrode stuck to the foot.

Occasionally, the baby will need medication or extra fluids and will be given a drip. Babies who are not yet able to drink on their own are also given IVs and/or tube feeds.

When the baby suffers from too much mucous or chokes, aspiration is performed. The mucous is gently sucked out through a tube.

There is also always a midwife in charge of babies in the neonatal ward. She will be with your baby as much as possible. If she is not there for a while, her buzzer, to which the babies' monitors are connected, allows her to closely monitor your baby's condition and respond to any alarms.

A day in the life of the baby

A day in the life of the baby

The bath

Your baby will usually have a bath in the morning. The way the bath is given depends on your baby's condition and size. As the baby's health condition evolves favourably, you as a parent can give the bath yourself.

The feed

How your baby is fed depends on the gestational age, its weight and condition. When your baby can drink by itself, it will be offered a bottle 7 to 10 times with a little sugar water, pumped breast milk or bottle-feeding. When the baby is not yet strong enough, it receives nutrition through a tube. This is a tube inserted through the nose to the stomach, through which the food is given.

The number of feeds and how they are given are determined by the paediatrician. For the first few days, feeds are given by midwives. As soon as your baby's condition allows, you can feed the baby first with help and later on alone.

Breastfeeding in neonatal unit

The sucking-swallowing reflex develops around 34 weeks of pregnancy. Some premature or sick babies are strong enough on their own to suck on the breast. Others cannot do it alone and pumping is required.

It is important to pump within six hours of birth and six to eight times a day. This helps initiate and maintain milk production. Adequate rest and drinking are very important.

We support you with learning to pump. As soon as possible, the pumped breast milk will be given to your baby.

When the baby indicates and the physician allows it, attempts are made to put the baby on the breast. Sucking on the breast requires more energy than sucking on a bottle and therefore the number of times of sucking on the breast is gradually built up.

The paediatrician

Several times a day, the paediatrician will visit you to assess your baby's evolution and condition and to adjust therapy and feeding if necessary. Sometimes blood is taken, an X-ray taken, medication adjusted or an IV is inserted...

To discuss your baby's condition, the paediatrician will visit you daily at the maternity unit. If you have already left the hospital, do not hesitate to make an appointment to see the paediatrician.

The baby has to stay a little longer

The baby has to stay a little longer

After a week, mum may go home, but the baby may stay in St Vincent General Hospital in Deinze for a while.

During this confusing period the contact between parents, care staff and physicians is really important. The neonatal unit will feel like a second home to you.

If your baby has to 'stay on', you will spend quite a bit of time in hospital. Midwives often understand your fears and needs better than most friends and acquaintances. Talking to other parents going through a similar period can also be enriching. There are a lot of parents' associations, such as the Flemish Association for Parents of Incubating Children vzw, you can contact as parents.

Try to visit regularly, that's all you can do for now. After all, it is important to get to know your baby well before it is allowed to go home. Each baby is its own little person with its own day and night rhythm.

Baby may go home

Baby may go home

Even after your baby is discharged from St Vincent General Hospital in Deinze, our midwives are still there for you day and night, in close contact with the paediatrician. You can always reach them on +32 (0)9 387 72 50.

All parents look forward to the day their baby finally comes home, a joyous occasion! Gradually, you will be prepared for the day of discharge. There will be discussions with the paediatrician, during which a number of examinations also happen. The paediatrician will decide when your baby can be taken home.

Coming home is an emotional event for every parent, often accompanied by uncertainty. There is a lot of time to catch up to get used to each other. Everyone thinks you can handle everything now because childbirth has been over for a while, but for you the maternity period is just getting started.

Try to stagger visits a bit, take time to get used to your new baby and enjoy to the full! A check-up appointment is always scheduled with your paediatrician after discharge.

By the way, did you know that your maternity leave is extended by the days your baby had to stay at the neonatal unit after day seven (seven days after birth)?