Postnatal care

Baby sleeping with soft toy of a badger

After you have had your baby you enter your postnatal period. If you have your baby in the hospital you will be transferred to Shere Ward. Once you and your baby are ready to go home, you will be discharged and appointments will be made for you to be seen with your baby by the midwife at your maternity hub.This is a very special time for you, your baby and the rest of your family. It is important that you get plenty of rest, eat and drink regularly and take time to bond with your baby establishing your own routine and feeding methods. We know you’ll be keen to share your new arrival but we strongly recommend keeping visitors to the minimum. You both need your rest and too many strange cuddles can be unsettling for newborns and can disrupt getting breastfeeding well established.

These early days as a parent can be challenging but the following Unicef leaflet Building a Happy Baby [pdf] 1MB contains helpful information and background on how you can build a loving responsive relationship with your baby, that will meet your own needs and your baby’s needs.

Newborn examinations

Within 72 hours of giving birth, you will be offered a thorough physical examination for your baby (this includes babies who are born at home).

The newborn physical examination is usually carried out in The Royal Surrey County Hospital before you go home, once the baby is more than six hours old. It will be conducted by a paediatrician or a midwife who has undertaken additional training.

This examination includes specific screening tests to find out if your baby has any problems with their eyes, heart, hips and, in boys, the testicles. This examination is part of the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) screening programme.

The aim is to spot any problems early so treatment can be started as soon as possible. Usually, nothing of concern is found, but if the health professional carrying out the examination does identify a problem, they may refer your baby for more tests.

Not all problems are identified immediately and some can take time to develop. For this reason you will be offered another physical examination for your baby at six to eight weeks, usually done by your GP.

Newborn Hearing Screen 

The postnatal ward has a team of technicians that aims to screen your baby’s hearing before discharge from hospital. If this is not possible you will be offered an appointment at one of the following venues:

  • Royal Surrey County Hospital
  • Haslmere
  • Farnham
  • Woking
  • Ashford
  • Staines
  • Addlestone.

If you have any concerns at all regarding your newborn’s hearing, please ring the team on 01483 783 143.

More information is also available from the following sites:

Skin-to-skin contact

When your baby has been born, you will be encouraged to have the baby immediately lying against your skin. This skin-to-skin contact has been shown to be exceptionally important for keeping newborns warm and helping them maintain their body temperature as well as colonising their skin with good bacteria.

For those who are going to breastfeed, it is an important first step towards establishing successful breastfeeding. Babies are alert at this time and will often start looking for the breast. 

Skin-to-skin contact can continue for as long as you want, but we recommend the baby stays skin to skin with you until the first breastfeed. After the baby has fed, dad or partners are welcome to have skin-to-skin contact while you shower or rest.

If you need stitches after birth, they can be put in without having to move your baby, and what is more having skin-to-skin can be an excellent distraction. Your baby can also be weighed and checked and returned to you without being dressed, so you can continue this close contact.

If you have a caesarean section or need to go to theatre after birth you will be able to have skin-to-skin contact while the operation is being completed, so long as you feel well. Otherwise, your baby will remain with you but wrapped up while you are in the operating theatre and will be unwrapped to be with you when you return to your room.

Babies who need special care

Most babies will stay with their mothers on the postnatal ward. However, some babies need extra care when they are born. This may be because they are premature or because they have a problem at birth.

Where this cannot be managed within our Transitional Care Unit on the postnatal ward, these babies will require admission to a Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU).  The Royal Surrey County Hospital has a Special Care Baby Unit  on Level G, next to the Maternity Unit.

The Special Care Baby Unit has facilities for you to stay overnight along side your baby should you wish. Furthermore, arrangements will be made for you to receive your postnatal care as a ward attender or in one of our maternity hubs

For more information on SCBU please click here.


Please be advised that the Maternity Unit and the Special Baby Care Unit operate a security surveillance system which protects the safety of the babies whilst they are in our care. After the baby's birth your midwife will offer to place a small security tag round the baby's ankle which will alarm should the baby be removed from the maternity unit.

Please note that security cameras operate in all of the areas and members of the public will be questioned prior to admission and asked to identify themselves before entering the maternity unit.

The unit is locked at both entrances and we operate a buzzer system to gain admission to the maternity unit and special care baby unit. This system is reliant on members of staff answering the security door bell and we appreciate your patience in waiting to gain entry. This is particularly important during busy times when staff might be delayed for a short while due to their clinical commitment to the mothers and babies.

Tailgating is not tolerated as this is a security risk and we would appreciate that if you are invited to come in following a conversation with a member of staff over the intercom system you do not allow others to follow you.