Having a baby is a life changing experience.

For most, families are able to take their healthy baby home in a matter of days.

But for some, they have to leave the birthing suite without their baby.

The Special Care Nursery at the Ipswich Hospital looks after babies who are generally preterm and need special care, normally to breathe properly and gain weight.

Babies are transported by Ambulance from other hospitals in a state of the art pod new to the ward.

In 2018 the Special Care Nursery cared for about 750 babies.

Team leader Kara Wyld said preterm babies have not established the ability to suck, swallow and breathe in a coordinated way.

Theodore Hermalahti had just had his feeding tube taken out and snoozed through his bath.

“Sometimes we will place a feeding tube in their nose, so they don’t need to do any work and over time we increase their oral suck feeds. They can generally go home once they are no longer relying on a feeding tube and they have the ability to either breast feed or bottle feed,” Ms Wyld said.

 

Theodore Hermalahti and Special Care Nursery team leader Kara Wyld share a moment after bathtime.

A day on the ward involves lots of parental education, feeding, bathing, changing nappies and administering medication.

Ms Wyld enjoys not just the big moment when the parents get to take their baby home, but also all the little moments along the way. 

Little Malakai Coe is in isolation after being transferred to Ipswich Hospital. RN Lauren Pender is conducting a health assessment.

“It’s all those milestones, when parents get to hold their baby for the first time, bath their baby for the first time, when they can successfully breast feed or bottle feed,” she said.

 “It’s a pretty awesome job to look after small babies. They are little fighters, you watch them when they are born so little and fragile. They get put through so much in those first weeks but the growth they go through is amazing.

Aylah Kemp falls asleep on her mother Samantha Cancilla, while clutching dads, Keiran Kemp, finger.

“When they finally get to go home and you look back from when they were born, sometimes in a stressful situation, and see them get stronger. It’s pretty awesome.”

Grandmother Susan Nason feeds baby Linkin Haevecker while mum Kayla Wernowski looks on.

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