BABIES who require a little bit of extra care after they are born now have the chance to stay with their mums thanks to a new initiative launched at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

New transitional care units have been opened at both Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, allowing mums to stay with their babies while they receive the extra care they require.

Janice Mackenzie, Associate Director of Maternity and Women’s Health at Hampshire Hospitals, which runs hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, said: “In the past, babies who need a little bit of help after being born have been treated in our neonatal units, but this means separating them from their mums at the end of each day.

“It is really important to keep babies with their mums if at all possible, so we are very pleased to have been able to open these transitional care units. It allows mums to care for their babies with the help of the maternity staff, while neonatal staff are also on hand to provide the additional support the babies need.”

Transitional care is suitable for babies who are well enough to be cared for outside of the neonatal units but require medical treatment such as phototherapy for jaundice or intravenous antibiotics. Women on the units get the benefit of support from trained maternity and neonatal staff, while their babies continue to be monitored by paediatric medical teams on a daily basis.

Esme Hacker spent a week on the neonatal unit at Royal Hampshire County Hospital after being born at 34 weeks and was one of the first babies admitted to the transitional care unit when it opened.

Jen McDonald-Reade, Esme’s mum, said: “I found being away from Esme really difficult, so there were a lot of tears during the time she was on the neonatal unit.

“The transitional care unit has made a huge difference and I think that being together the whole time is helping both of us. It’s also good to be getting the practical support with feeding and handling a new baby that the midwives and other staff in the maternity unit are able to provide. I’m sure I’ll feel much more confident when I get home.”

Stacey Crane’s daughter Ivy-Rose Tiller-Stevens was identified as suitable for the transitional care unit shortly after birth as she needed to be monitored to ensure she didn’t lose too much weight or become jaundiced.

Stacey said: “I would not have wanted to have been away from Ivy-Rose, so it’s great that they have created this unit.

“It’s fantastic to be able to bond and be together, but still get all of the help and support we both need. The staff have been really helpful and given me lots of advice.”