The birth of your baby is an exciting time, but it can also be a huge adjustment period for your new little one. Up until delivery, your baby relies on the mother to support their breathing, eating, waste and immunity. Once born, some babies require extra support to get all of these systems working properly. This may mean that your baby will require the care of a neonatologist and in a special environment – the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Reasons your baby may require the specialized care of the NICU include:
- Baby being born at less than 35 weeks gestation
- A low birth weight (less than 2000 grams)
- Baby being smaller than the expected size at birth (small for gestational age)
- Medications given in the delivery room
- Resuscitation following delivery
- Birth anomalies
- Breathing issues such as rapid breathing, grunting or stopping
- Low blood sugar
- The need for extra fluids or medications, perhaps even a blood transfusion
- Problems during the delivery such as bleeding, breech delivery or umbilical cord around the baby
At times, newborns require admission back to the hospital after they have been already been sent home. This can be for reasons such as severe jaundice or newly diagnosed heart defects. We encourage families to be active partners in their child’s care, whenever possible. The NICU offers individual patient rooms, with family space in each.
Parents are part of the care team. You are encouraged to take part in medical rounds for your child.
- Before entering the unit, family and visitors call the NICU from the family waiting room.
- Due to limited space, only two people are allowed in the room at a time (1 parent/ 1 visitor). A guardian will escort all visitors.
- Exceptions for the two-visitor limit can be made for special circumstances, like for a baptism.
- If you can’t visit your child, you can choose 1-2 people to be designated visitors. A form must be filled out.
- Everyone entering the NICU must wash their hands.
- Parents are responsible for their visitors and will inform all visitors of handwashing procedures.
- Everyone entering the NICU will be screened for communicable diseases.
- Siblings between 5-11 years old may visit if supervised by a parent. These visits are meant to introduce the siblings and should be kept short.
- If a child is under 5 years of age, a neonatologist must approve the visit.
- Anyone that is currently hospitalized, other than the mother, should not visit the NICU.