NEW fathers can now stay overnight at hospital to support the mother and baby.

Royal Bournemouth Hospital is now inviting partners to spend the night in the same postnatal room as the mother and child to offer support and bond with their new baby.

The maternity unit, temporarily located on ward 7, will move to a new home in the autumn.

Once completed, the new permanent unit will also have rooms large enough to accommodate both parents for overnight stays.

Victoria Parker gave birth to Henry James on Tuesday, July 29, and her partner Ian Wicker was one of the first dads to stay overnight.

He said: “Having your first child is a life-changing moment and it was great to be able to help my partner and support her during the very early stages.

“It was great just being in the same room and everything just seems a lot more relaxed. It also means I am not at home worrying or missing them both.”

Victoria said: “It was comforting to know that Ian was so close by should I need him. Obviously staff are only just outside but it was nice for both of us to share the first hours of Henry’s life and support each other through the night.”

Ward sister Lesley Connell said: “I think the other parent misses out on so much straight after the birth of their child and this initiative gives them the chance to build relationships with their new arrival immediately.

“It also gives their partners the chance to rest and eases the pressure on them because it can be quite scary when you have just had a baby and you have no immediate family close by.”

The new maternity unit will have dedicated car parking bays and will improve emergency transfers by ambulance should mothers unexpectedly need obstetric support, available at Poole Hospital.