Information for parents, families and friends

The birth of a new baby is an exciting time. But having a baby that needs admission to a neonatal unit, particularly intensive care, can be scary. The Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU) environment and the technology may seem daunting. Parents will receive a lot of new information and hear many unfamiliar words; all of which may be overwhelming at first. We hope that the information found here, and in the in NCCU Parent Handbook that all parents receive on admission, will help you better understand the care the NCCU team provides. 

Please don't hesitate to ask our team any questions, or request information to be repeated if you are unsure about anything you have been told. 

Accessing the unit 

Mater Mothers' NCCU is located on Level 6 at Mater Mothers' Hospital. This short video includes information about how to access the unit once you arrive at the hospital. 

What to expect

When your baby is admitted to NCCU, the multidisciplinary team work quickly to meet the needs of your baby and it may appear very scary and overwhelming. This can be a very busy time. However, we aim to explain all procedures and equipment to you, your family and encourage questions. Throughout your baby's stay, any treatment they require will be explained to you.

We encourage you to be involved in your baby's care wherever possible as this helps to establish and strengthen your bond with them. Please discuss your baby's plan of care with the nurse caring for your baby so that you can coordinate your visits to maximise your involvement.

Watch this short video about parenting your baby in NCCU. 

This short video includes important safety information. 

Learn more about the highly specialised team who will be responsible for your baby's care.

Our nurseries

Frequently asked questions

  • How do I access the nursery to see my baby?
  • Who can visit my baby?
  • What can I do if I am concerned or feel like I am not being heard?
  • How can I help to prevent infection?

Caring for your baby

  • How to be a partner in the care of your baby
  • What you can do every day
  • What we suggest you do
  • What may not be possible
  • How to be a partner in the care of your baby
  • Breastfeeding
  • Common procedures, tests and treatments
  • Terminology

Parent information brochures 


Developmental care

Mater Mothers’ NCCU prides itself on providing family centred and developmentally supportive care to all babies. Each family and their baby are unique; therefore, have different care needs and priorities. Our specialised team have developed lots of strategies to nurture your baby’s neurodevelopment. These strategies are focused on the core neuroprotective factors including safeguarding sleep, partnering with families, optimising nutrition, minimising stress and pain, protecting skin and positioning and handling.

Your baby may be seen by our specialised, multidisciplinary team during the developmental care round. NCCU nurses, physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists will review your baby’s current developmental phase and establish how extra support can be provided to you to best nurture your baby.


Support from family and friends

Friends and family of babies being cared for in NCCU are encouraged to support their loved ones during what can be a very difficult and uncertain time. They have an important role to play but each family’s circumstances will be different. The following is a list of ideas that family and friends may find useful:

  • Congratulate the parents on their new baby! Acknowledge the birth and if you would like to get them a gift, some consideration to the choice of gift may be needed. Our NCCU families found the following list of gifts very thoughtful and kind:
    • A diary to document their thoughts, experiences and to celebrate their child’s milestones while in the NCCU
    • Photo album or frame for special photos
    • A special book that parents can read to their baby
    • Hand cream for mum (non-scented), as the constant handwashing can cause dry and cracked skin
    • A soft dressing gown for skin-to-skin (kangaroo) care with their baby
  • Be present for their whole journey. It’s common for families to receive a lot of messages and phone calls initially; however, they dwindle as time passes. Make sure to check in with your loved ones and ensure they’re doing ok.
  • Offer to visit and be present. Listen and support, but be sure to respect the family’s boundaries.
  • Cook meals for the family to eat or keep in the freezer.
  • Offer to help with day-to-day chores such as cleaning the house, grocery shopping, laundry or caring for their pets while they’re in the hospital.
  • Offer to drive Mum and Dad to the hospital, especially post-caesarean birth.
  • Offer to babysit the other children in the family for a period of time, if appropriate.
  • Do not visit the parents or baby if you are unwell.

Discharge and follow up care for your baby

  • Length of stay
  • Transfer
  • Follow up care

Other online resources:



Facilities and services

You will have access to state-of-the-art facilities and a comprehensive selection of support services in one convenient location; to support you through conception, pregnancy, birth and early motherhood.

About NCCU



Mater Mothers’ Hospitals strongly support research to improve the care of and outcome for babies born ill or premature.

We strive to provide the gold standard of evidence-based practice and diminish the gap for translating research into practice. You may be asked to allow your baby to be involved in research projects. The decision to participate in any trials or research is of course up to you, but we appreciate your careful consideration of these projects at such a stressful and difficult time.

Neonatal Research


Join the Miracle Max Club

Throughout your baby’s stay, you might receive a special visit from Miracle Max—a friend to all babies born and cared for at Mater. Miracle Max makes visits to NCCU to meet new babies and their families and to gift a special plush toy keepsake to your Mater little miracle as part of the Miracle Max Club. 

If you don’t see Miracle Max during your stay, you can still join the Miracle Max Club by completing one of the forms available at the nurse’s desk. You can learn more about the Miracle Max Club here.

Mater Little Miracles


Contact NCCU

Our nurses are available around the clock. Please feel free to call through to our reception team or directly to your baby’s cot at any time, day or night, for updates on their progress.

If you have any questions that have not been covered, please do not hesitate to ask the healthcare team caring for your baby.

We value feedback about your hospital stay and invites you to provide positive feedback, suggest a service improvement or voice any concerns. We are committed to continuously improving the care and quality of the services we provide to you, your baby, and your family. You will be sent a survey after your baby has been discharged from hospital. Simply answer the questions and let us know of your experience.


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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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