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Newborn Care


National Women’s Health provides neonatal healthcare services for all newborn babies. For those who have a relatively easy arrival, this involves encouraging skin-to-skin contact with you immediately following birth, helping to establish breastfeeding, administration of Vitamin K and care of your newborn. For babies who arrive prematurely, or have serious health problems, we have New Zealand’s leading Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). If you need more information on a specific topic please go to the A - Z Fact Sheets section.

Your placenta

For some cultures, the placenta (whenua) has special significance. After the birth of your baby, we will ask if you want the placenta. If you do, it must be taken home immediately by your partner or a friend, because we don’t have suitable storage facilities at National Women’s Health. If you don’t want to take the placenta home, the hospital will arrange for its disposal.

Skin-to-skin contact

Following the birth of your baby, provided you and your baby are well, you will be encouraged to enjoy skin-to-skin contact. This provides many benefits, including:    

  • Bonding with your baby
  • Easier breastfeeding
  • Reduced stress
  • Temperature regulation.


The World Health Organization recommends that babies are breastfed exclusively for their first six months of life. Many studies have shown that breast milk promotes brain development and protects the infant against diseases.

National Women’s is a Baby Friendly Hospital, which means that breastfeeding is fully supported on the wards. While you and your baby are learning about breastfeeding, you can ask for assistance and advice from midwives and the ward nurses. If you need more specialised help, we can arrange for you to meet with a lactation consultant.


The best preparation for breastfeeding is knowledge. Hopefully you will have learned about breastfeeding during your pregnancy. If not, our midwifery staff will support you to breastfeed. We also have helpful written information available on the ward and at our information centre in the atrium area of Level 9.


Once you and your baby are at home, ongoing advice and support for your choice of feeding is available from your midwife or LMC and local Plunket nurse. If you are planning to return to work, you are entitled by law to a safe place in your workplace to breastfeed or express milk for your baby.

Support and help for breastfeeding

Written information to help with breastfeeding

‘Rooming In’ with your baby

Getting to know your baby and bonding with him/her in the early days sets the foundations for life. That’s why we will encourage you to ‘room in’ with your baby, rather than use the nursery on the ward. 

The majority of women who have just given birth feel emotionally and physically tender. Your body is likely to be sore and tired, but your heart is open to the tiny individual who was so recently part of you. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially when you’re receiving differing advice from family, friends and health professionals, all of whom think that their advice is correct! Remember, you will probably know instinctively what will suit you and your baby.

If your baby needs special attention in the neonatal unit (NICU), our staff will support and help you to visit your baby as much as possible. Sometimes you are ready for discharge before your baby, and this will mean that you will have to visit the hospital daily for feeding, cuddles and advice on caring for your new baby.

Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)

Our NICU looks after babies born to parents in Central Auckland. Babies who are born at less than 32 weeks gestation and who live in West Auckland and North Auckland will also be cared for in our NICU until they are well enough to be transferred back to their local hospital. In addition to looking after Auckland’s new arrivals, we provide NICU care for sick and/or premature babies from other New Zealand regions when required.

NICU is also the referral centre for babies who need paediatric cardiology services, neonatal surgery or treatment for complex metabolic diseases.

For more information about when you and your baby will be transferred back to your local hospital, take a look at this information sheet: NICU at Auckland City Hospital.  

Three levels of care:

Level 3 NICU cares for babies who need full ventilation, are born at less than 30 weeks or who require intensive care support.

Level 2 NICU cares for babies who need CPAP (continuous positive airways pressure) therapy, intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Depending on their needs, babies requiring Level 2 services may be transferred back to North Shore Hospital or Waitakere Hospital for care closer to home.

Parent-Infant Nursery is an area for low-dependency Level 2 babies. The focus here is on preparing the baby and family for discharge.

Other services for families if required

  • Neonatal homecare service
  • Child development unit
  • Paediatric outpatient service
  • Specialist lactation service
  • Neonatal emergency transport service

Find out more about Newborn Services by visiting the ADHB Newborn Services website here.    

Find out more about the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative here - The BFHI is an international accreditation process monitored by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF.

National Women's Health
Phone: 09 307 4949
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