After your baby is born, you will be transferred to a maternity room for your postnatal care until you are discharged to go home. The midwives who care for you after birth will ensure you and your baby are medically well. They will also make sure your pain is managed and you receive education and information about feeding and caring for your new baby.
The postnatal ward
The Maternity Unit has 32 private rooms for women who are admitted during their pregnancy for close monitoring, or for women after they have given birth. We encourage family-centered care and partners are welcome to stay on the ward until you are discharged.
Our rooms have either a double bed or a single bed plus sofa bed for partners. Most rooms share a bathroom with the adjoining room; only patients can use these. Partners and visitors can use the public bathrooms in the Maternity Ward and corridor. Most rooms will have a phone, television and a small fridge for you to store food and drinks.
It is important for you to understand that rooms are allocated based on clinical assessment firstly, and then bed availability. You will not be able to request a different room. The use of private health insurance does not impact your room allocation.
You can receive phone calls to your room and make outgoing calls to landlines only.
Television hire can be arranged for a daily fee through Hills TV Rental. You can connect your television by phoning 1800 063 829, or online by visiting www.hillstv.com.au. Each television has a free Maternity Education channel which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Videos include Baby-Led Breastfeeding, Safe Bathing, Nappy Change, SIDS, Settling Your Baby and Keeping Baby Safe, and more.
The postnatal ward has a small kitchenette with tea and coffee, and a microwave for heating food. You will also find vases in the kitchenette for flowers.
You are welcome to spend time in the patient lounge area. If you want to take your baby out of your room please ensure he or she is wrapped warmly and remains in the baby cot. The cot can be wheeled through the ward. For safety reasons we ask that you and your partner do not carry your baby around the hospital.
Please note that visiting hours are STRICTLY 2-8pm.
Your partner will be allowed access at all times. Your baby’s grandparents and siblings can visit from 8am-8pm.
The Maternity Unit has a closed-door security system. Anyone wanting to come into the ward needs to press the intercom located near the entrance door and speak to our staff before being allowed to enter. The Maternity Ward door will automatically open during visiting hours.
We understand that having a new family is an exciting time in your life and family and friends will be eager to meet your new baby. However, this time is also important for you to learn as much as you can about feeding and caring for your baby. Rest is vital after having a baby and we want to make sure you are physically well before you go home. Please encourage your visitors to phone ahead to save them arriving outside visiting hours. We also ask that children are supervised at all times.
For the health and safety of you and your baby, please ask your family and friends to wash their hands or use the hand rub located throughout the ward. Please ask any visitors with an infectious illness to not visit.
During your stay on the Maternity Unit you will have a midwife allocated to care for you. Our staff work in rotating shifts so you will have a different midwife in the morning, evening and overnight. We encourage you to be active in planning your care with your midwife and/or doctor.
You are welcome to ask your midwife any questions, at any time. Our experienced midwives are committed to ensuring you are comfortable while you recover after your vaginal or caesarean birth. They can provide you and your partner with information about feeding, bathing, dressing and settling your baby, as well as safe sleeping recommendations.
At Werribee Mercy Hospital we encourage ‘rooming-in’, meaning you and your baby remain together 24 hours a day. This allows you to respond to your baby when he or she displays feeding cues, which will help you establish breastfeeding, bond with your baby and gain confidence caring for them. Current research shows mothers and babies both sleep better when they are rooming-in together. Your baby will have two identification tags attached to their wrist or ankle shortly after they are born. These tags identify that this is your baby. Please advise staff if either of these tags fall off at any time during your admission.
We recommend that all babies at Werribee Mercy Hospital have the hepatitis B vaccination and vitamin K injection soon after birth. We also recommend your baby has a Newborn Blood Screening Test (NBST), which is a blood test taken from your baby’s foot to assess for possible metabolic disorders. A hearing screen test will also be performed before your baby goes home. You will be given information and asked to sign a hospital consent or decline form before these procedures are performed.
The midwives caring for you and your baby will provide guidance and support to help you establish breastfeeding. They can also provide you with information about:
- how breastfeeding works
- how to tell if you baby is breastfeeding well
- how to express and safely store breastmilk
- where to get breastfeeding support after you are discharged.
If you are having complex breastfeeding issues that cannot be solved by the midwife caring for you, they will refer you to the Breastfeeding support service. If you are concerned in your first few weeks at home, you can make an appointment by calling 03 8754 3407.
At Werribee Mercy Hospital we respect your right to choose how you feed your baby. We will support you with guidance and advice however you choose to feed.
If you have decided to formula-feed your baby, your midwife will educate you on:
- how to make up and store formula milk
- how to clean, sterilise and store bottles and equipment
- how to bottle-feed your baby.
If you choose to formula-feed, you will need to bring to the hospital:
- one tin or sachets of newborn formula
- six sterilised bottles, teats and lids
- a microwave steam steriliser or steriliser bags (or you can have freshly sterilised bottles and teats brought into hospital each day)
- a bottle brush for cleaning.
The ‘Milk Room’ is a designated room in the postnatal ward where you can wash bottles and teats. There is also a microwave to sterilise your bottles and a fridge to store formula in between feeds.
Preparing for discharge
Discharge time is 10am.
Most women will be well enough for discharge (returning home from hospital) two nights after a vaginal birth. In practice, this means day of birth, day of rest, day of discharge. With a caesarean section, discharge is generally after three nights. In practice, this means day of birth, two days of rest, day of discharge. You may wish to have an early discharge if you and your baby are medically well and low-risk. The minimum recommended time for an early discharge after birth is four hours.
A midwife and/or doctor will check that you and your baby are well before you both leave the hospital.
We ask that you plan ahead to have your belongings packed and someone available to transport you and your baby home. It is a requirement by law that you have an appropriate child restraint fitted in your car for your baby to travel safely. We ask that you have this organised before you are due to go home.
For further information on child restraints please visit www.vicroads.vic.gov.au or ask our staff for a VicRoads Child Restraints brochure.
If you are discharged with a medication prescription, you can purchase your medications from the hospital pharmacy (located across from Zouki cafeteria).
When you go home
Women who have a baby at Werribee Mercy Hospital are offered a home visit by one of our midwives several days after discharge. The Midwifery in the Home (MITH) service will receive your birth details after you are discharged and will contact you by phone to arrange a visit within 48 hours. The midwife will make sure you are healing well after your birth. They will also check your baby’s weight and that they are feeding well, and they will perform the Newborn Blood Screening Test if required.
The hospital will provide your contact details to your local community Maternal and Child Health Nurse. They will contact you within seven days of your baby being discharged from hospital. The Maternal and Child Health Nurse will monitor your baby’s health and development from birth until they are school-aged. You will receive a green book when your baby is discharged from the hospital. This is used to record your baby’s health and development details, and all immunisations as they are administered.
After birth, you may experience a wide range of emotions and feelings. After the birth of your baby and placenta, and once you start to produce breastmilk, your body and hormone levels will start to change. Sometimes women will feel anxious, fatigued or overwhelmed several days after their baby is born. It is important you discuss these feelings with your partner or family and friends, so they can support and help care for your baby so you can rest. It is also important to seek help if these feelings do not ease over time or if you experience symptoms of depression. We recommend you speak to your general practitioner, midwife or Maternal and Child Health Nurse for advice and help.
A free and confidential interpreter service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are committed to ensuring that you understand the health information and education we provide to you before you go home. Please talk to our staff to arrange an interpreter.
Our trained women’s health physiotherapists are available on the postnatal ward from 10-11am Monday to Friday in the patient lounge, where they run a postnatal physiotherapy class. The class covers physical recovery after a pregnancy and birth; care of perineal or abdominal tears; exercises to aid recovery and strength; and baby physiotherapy, such as the importance of tummy time. You are welcome to contact our Physiotherapy Department for an assessment up to six weeks after birth.
Special Care Nursery
Some babies require an admission to our Special Care Nursery. If your baby is admitted to the Special Care Nursery, you will be able to visit your baby at any time. The staff will help you with hand expressing your breastmilk. They will provide you with information and support if your baby has to stay in the Special Care Nursery after you are discharged.
Other hospital facilities
On-site parking is available for a daily fee. Entry to the hospital car park can be accessed from Hoppers Lane.
Your meals will be brought to your room from our kitchen. Please notify staff if you have a food allergy, are vegetarian or require a halal meal.
Zouki cafeteria is located in the main hospital corridor. You can purchase hot food, sandwiches, cold drinks, coffee, confectionery, essential toiletry items, magazines and newspapers. The cafeteria is open Monday to Friday, 7am-8pm. Weekends and public holiday opening hours are 7am-7pm.
An ATM is located in the main hospital corridor, near the main reception.
There is a payphone located in the maternity lounge, which you can use to dial mobile phone numbers. You will need coins to use the payphone.
The chapel is located in the main hospital corridor, at the end closest to the Maternity Unit. The chapel is a quiet place for reflection and prayer and all religious denominations are welcome.
A newborn photographer is available for professional photographs to be taken of your newborn baby before you go home. Please speak to the photographer about prices.
Last reviewed September 26, 2017.