Neonatal Growth and Development Program
Our Neonatal Growth and Development Program supports families with the smallest and sickest of babies admitted to the Neonatal Nursery.
On this page:
Your baby will be included in the Neonatal Growth and Development Program if they:
- are born earlier than 29 weeks into the pregnancy
- weigh less than 1000 grams at birth
- need therapeutic cooling following birth asphyxia.
The birth of a very premature or sick baby is a worrying time for families. Our Growth and Development program is here to guide mums and dads to help you better understand your baby’s development and how to support it – beginning in the Neonatal Nursery and continuing until your baby turns 2 years of age.
Children who are born very sick or very early and are admitted to the Neonatal Nursery for specialist care in the first few days, weeks or months of their lives can sometimes face problems with the way they move, speak, learn, play, or pay attention in toddlerhood or their school years.
We also know that there are many things that lower the risk of developmental delays or difficulty. The first 1000 days of life is a truly important window of time to help shape and support your baby’s development.
- Hold them close and let them know they are safe and loved.
- Give them plenty of time to sleep, play, learn and explore with you.
- Read, sing and talk with your baby.
- You know your child best, speak with your doctor straight away if you are worried that your child’s development has fallen behind.
Getting help early can make a big difference to your child’s development.
Your baby’s stay in the Neonatal Nursery
We are here to help guide and support you to better understand your baby’s behaviour, cues and development.
The Growth and Development Consultant Nurse is a qualified Newborn Behaviour Observation (NBO) clinician and has expert knowledge of preterm baby development.
To book a 1:1 face-to-face teaching session about your baby’s development and ways that you can support this during their stay in the Neonatal Nursery, please contact our consultant nurse on the numbers or email listed under “contacts” below.
Please be sure to include:
- your name
- contact phone number
- your baby’s name and date of birth.
We are a team of experienced health professionals including:
- Clinical Psychologist
- Consultant Nurse
The Growth and Development team will measure the progress your child is making in the key areas of development.
This happens at 2 years corrected age (2 years from the date they were due to be born).
Clinic is a fun, safe space for your child. They will play with specially designed toys and puzzles, and are given a range of activities to give us a strong idea of how they move, speak, play, learn and problem solve.
If we find any delays in your child’s development we will work with you to make referrals to other specialists including physios, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, doctors and other health professionals to give your child the best chance to meet their milestones and develop along with others their age.
This is a free service for all children enrolled in the WCH Growth and Development Program.
How to access this service
The co-ordinator will contact you if your baby is enrolled in our Growth & Development Program. A brochure about the service will be given to you during your baby’s stay in the Neonatal Nursery or posted out to you after you have brought your baby home.
We do not accept referrals from external health care providers.
The program is open 5 days per fortnight between 8:30am and 4:30pm. We are closed on weekends.
- Office: Level 1, Zone F (Queen Victoria Building – Room number 1.02)
- Clinic: Paediatric Outpatient’s Department (each Friday)
Resources for parents
- (08) 8161 7963 or
- via WCH hospital switchboard: (08) 8161 7000 – ask for pager 4431
(08) 8161 7654