The first babies to be born on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are given presents by midwives to celebrate their arrivals.
Staff at King’s College Hospital in south-east London said they celebrate every baby that is born in their wards but the youngsters that are born on December 25 or January 1 are “special.”
In the lead-up to Christmas, each ward in the hospital erects and decorates a Christmas tree to get into the spirit of the season.
In the labour and postnatal wards, staff also wear festive trinkets to mark the occasion, such as antlers on their heads.
Tracey MacCormack, director of midwifery at King’s College Hospital, said around 300 to 350 babies are delivered at the ward each month and the figure tends to remain the same in December and January.
She told the PA news agency: “Last week was busier than this week.
“Who knows with maternity partners? It goes in peaks and troughs.
“We have the same amount of people that we generally have around this time expected to deliver.
“Women and birth people are keen to go home if they’ve delivered on Christmas Day because obviously they want to go back and be with their families. From a staffing perspective, for us it’s a joy to deliver a baby at any time. It’s lovely to have a Christmas Day baby, it’s really nice.”
Work is also done to make sure that anyone who has coronavirus is cared for and protected but they are kept away from other people who are due to give birth.
Ms MacCormack said: “Everybody has a test when they come in and until we get the result, they’re classed as pending.
“When they get the result and if they’re positive, they’re looked after in a separate room, and we use all our PPE and barriers. When they go down to our postnatal ward, we do the same thing there, they are nursed in a side room.”
Dereen Edema, a senior midwife at King’s, said Christmas Day is a “beautiful day” and those on shift celebrate the births with their patients and their families.
“The first baby that is born, we get together, we clap, we celebrate the baby and a gift is presented to that particular baby,” she said.
“Both mum and the baby are given presents. So the first baby that is born on Christmas and New Year’s Day, we celebrate them. We celebrate all the babies but they are the special ones.
“We give them pamper things and baby stuff, like shower gel and baby clothes.”
Outlining what it is like for nurses to work on Christmas Day, she added: “It’s just like any other day for us, but we wear things that are related to Christmas, not Christmas jumpers, but there are things we put on to highlight the festive period.
“We also know that it’s not always very busy on Christmas Day because most mothers want to be at home, so we just celebrate it in our own way by bringing food in.”
Kate Amy, a labour ward midwife, added: “I really love working at Christmas.
“It’s always a really happy and festive time of year.
“Obviously it can be a shame to be away from your families at the festive time, but for me, I really love my job, so it’s really lovely to be here. I think there’s a lot of talk about people who have due dates on or around Christmas time, people often say to them when they’re pregnant ‘Oh we hope you don’t have a Christmas baby’ but often people are just happy to meet their baby whenever that may be.”