• Follow us on

Baby—rooming-in before taking your preterm baby home

Why room-in?

Mothers with babies who have spent time in the Neonatal Critical Care Unit are encouraged to room-in for 24 to 48 hours prior to being discharged from hospital. This assists to builds your confidence in caring for your baby, while still having support, if needed, from nursing staff. Rooming-in allows you to become familiar with your baby’s feeding cues and to ensure your baby can take all suck feeds without tiring and still gain weight. You will also have the opportunity to bath your baby, learn settling techniques, administer medications if required, and make decisions for you and your baby in a supported environment.

How does rooming-in work?

While rooming-in with your baby, you will be providing total care and attending to all your baby’s needs. A nurse from the Neonatal Critical Care Unit will be allocated to look after you should you need assistance at any time. Your nurse will carry a pager that will alert her when you push the call button. Your nurse may be based on a different floor to the one you are rooming-in on. The usual length of stay is one to two nights.

When can I room-in?

The decision to room in will be made in consultation with you, the nursing staff and your baby’s doctor. Usually your baby is ready to room-in when they:

  • take all suck feeds during the day
  • show interest in sucking over night
  • have gained weight on all suck feeds

Where do I room-in?

The postnatal floors, located on levels 8, 10, 11 and 12 accommodate those parents needing to room-in with their baby.

Can my partner or support person stay?

Your partner or support person is welcome to stay. A daybed is available, in each room, for this purpose and other facilities include an ensuite, a mini fridge, television and tea and coffee facilities. For security reasons you, and you partner, will be required to wear a hospital bracelet for identification.


You will be provided with written information about meals, as part of the “Rooming-in” service, separate to this brochure. Primary carers are entitled to all meals at no cost. Partner meals are available at a cost. Both your and your partner’s meals will be delivered to your room on a tray. You will be provided with a menu for meal selection between 8 am and 9 am every day.

Can I leave my room?

It is recommended that you spend as much time as possible with your baby so that you may learn about caring for your baby. You must have a family member available to take care of your baby if you need to leave your room, for any reason, as your baby should not leave the postnatal area unless treatment or investigations are required in another area of the hospital. Do not leave your baby unattended in the rooming-in room.

Please ask your nurse for a copy of the Mater Mothers’ Hospitals brochure, Your baby’s safety and security— information for parents, which explains ways that both you and the hospital can keep your baby safe.

What if I need help urgently?

If you need urgent assistance, an emergency call button is located on the wall behind the bed. For any other assistance, you need to call the special care nurse allocated to you by pushing the nurse call button.

Will my baby still be seen by a doctor?

Your baby will be seen by their paediatrician and this is usually each morning but will depend on each doctor’s schedule. Your baby will require a discharge check by their paediatrician prior to leaving the hospital and follow-up appointments will be discussed at that time.

What do I need to bring with me?

  • Toiletries and clothes for yourself
  • Baby clothes, including warm hats, booties and singlets, as the rooms are colder than the nursery
  • Baby wraps
  • Disposable nappies and wipes
  • Breast pump kit, if you need to express— there are breast pumps available on the rooming-in floors for your use
  • If you have any expressed breast milk stored in our fridge or freezer, please bring an Esky to take it home in
  • Formula, bottles, teats, a bottle brush and an airtight container, for storage, if you are formula feeding

Before rooming-In

It is recommended that you:

  • view the programs on infant resuscitation (CPR)
    and safe sleeping (SIDS) guidelines. Ask your
    special care nurse where you can watch these.
  • ensure that you have your baby car restraint
    correctly fitted in your car and are familiar with its
  • have your discharge medications from the

Visiting hours

Visiting hours are 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 8 pm each day.

Quiet time is 1 pm to 3 pm.

Please adhere to the visiting hours on each floor.

Mobile phones

You may use your mobile phone, in your room, provided you do not cause a disturbance to other people. Mobile phones must not be used in the corridors or within two metres of medical equipment.


On the day of discharge, your nurse will give you a form that will enable you to obtain a pass from main reception on level 5. This will allow you to drive your car to the front of the hospital.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

Please read the Mater Health Services brochure Patient’s Charter that will be provided to you as part of the information pack located on your bedside locker.


We welcome your feedback, so please do not hesitate to contact either the Neonatal Nurses who are caring for your baby or the Nurse Unit Manager from Special Care Nursery regarding your “Rooming-in” experience.

© 2012 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-430088
Last modified 08/8/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 28/2/2014
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
Share this pageAdd to Twitter Add to Facebook Add to LinkedIn Add to Google Bookmarks

Mercy. Dignity. Care. Commitment. Quality


Was this information helpful?


 Security code

Please note: we will endeavour to respond to your enquiry within five (5) business days.