Having a baby admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) can be unexpected and frightening. Our mission is to provide the highest quality of health care for your baby while being in close collaboration with the family and all providers. That's why we have created a list of our most frequently asked questions, as well as key NICU terms and staff descriptions. We want to equip you with the most information we can to help you partner with us for the best care possible.

If you have any questions not answered below, or just would like more information, please contact Christi King, Rose Childbirth Navigator.

My doctor told me to prepare for my baby to have a NICU stay after birth, who can I contact to arrange for a tour so I can know what to expect?

If your physician has told you to prepare for a NICU stay, please contact Christi King, our Childbirth Navigator, to arrange a NICU tour. Due to the delicate nature of this unit, NICU tours are offered on a very limited basis.

Does Rose Medical Center have a high-risk OB team?

The Rose Center for Maternal-Fetal Health offers experienced doctors, visionary treatments and compassionate care for mothers and babies at high risk. Whether you come to us for routine prenatal screenings or more specialized testing and care, our physicians and medical staff are here to make sure you get the care you need and understand what is happening every step of the way.

Why is my baby in the NICU?

Your baby is in the NICU for observation and to receive special care from nurses, doctors and other professionals who are specially trained to take care of premature or sick newborns. To determine to what specific care your infant requires, speak with your prenatal care provider prior to delivery and/or the neonatologist once your infant has been admitted to the Rose Babies NICU.

Will the same nurses always take care of my baby?

The same team of nurses will take care of your baby while she or he is in Rose Babies NICU. However, the nurse assigned to your infant may vary by shift. After a few days, you will probably get to know the members of your infant's team. Members of the team work closely with each other to ensure that whoever takes care of your baby has the latest information about unique treatments, needs and tolerances.

Are pediatric experts available in the NICU 24 hours a day?

The Rose Babies NICU has board certified neonatologists, dedicated NICU nurses and  four NICU lactation consultants. We also have a dedicated NICU occupational therapist and a dedicated NICU development therapist. Care providers are present in the Rose Babies NICU at all times to address any questions parents may have about the care of their infant.

How long do babies tend to stay in the NICU?

The average length of stay is 12-14 days, but some babies stay longer and some are only with us for a few hours. We encourage you to speak to your physician about your baby's specific needs. 

Who do I speak to about my baby's prognosis and length of stay as well as the best way to care for my preemie?

We encourage parents to create a list of questions to discuss with your prenatal provider, neonatologists and NICU nurses to gain a better understanding of what to expect. Babies usually stay in the NICU until their condition improves enough for them to go home. If born early, your baby will need to be able to breathe well without help, keep a normal body temperature, feed well, gain weight regularly and have no signs or symptoms of illness or infection.

How will I feed my baby?

The Rose Babies NICU team includes nutritionists who specialize in the nutritional needs of infants. They advocate for the best nutritional resources for your infant. Breastfeeding is encouraged, but gavage/tube feeding may be necessary

Gavage (or tube) feeding is a way to provide nourishment (breastmilk/formula) directly to your baby's stomach. A tube is placed through baby's nose (called a Nasogastric or NG tube) carries breast milk/formula directly to the stomach.

Breastmilk is by far the best nutrition for premature babies. Breastmilk has been shown to improve the recovery time of infants as well as their cognitive outcomes. It has also been shown to decrease the risk of a very serious bowel infection. Because of all these benefits Rose Babies NICU has access to specialized PREEMIE breastpumps for each NICU room as well as four NICU Lactation Consultants.

How are breathing (respiratory) problems managed?

Rose Babies NICU rooms are equipped with high-frequency ventilation equipment. Neonatologists and specially trained respiratory therapists oversee infant breathing therapies.

Are the appropriate programs in place to eliminate unnecessary testing?

Close monitoring of blood gases and other tests that require frequent collection of small samples of the baby's blood often can be decreased or obtained less frequently, depending on the baby's risk factors and condition. Less frequent testing means less stress and more uninterrupted sleep for the baby. The Rose Babies NICU Leadership Team routinely reviews best practices to limit blood sampling and the amount of blood needed for each test. Rose Medical Center has a laboratory on campus allowing the NICU team to send obtain blood gasses results quickly. A small baby has lungs that are very fragile, so it's critical to be able to get results and make adjustments quickly.

Do all NICUs have the same capabilities?

All NICUs care for babies who need special help, but different NICUs offer different levels of care. Rose Babies NICU is a Level III NICU, according to standards specified by the American Academy of Pediatrics. As a Level 3 NICU we can take care of just about any infant need, which means that the likelihood of a transfer for care is very low.

What is the environment in the NICU like?

The Rose Babies NICU was remodeled in 2010 as a state of the art NICU, conforming to all 28 new standards of NICU building. It is a 24-hour locked down unit that holds a maximum of 24 babies.

We have five specialized rooms for twins, and one room for triplets.

Parents can stay with their babies 24/7.

We also boast the best preemie environment to date. All facets of the design have been selected and used to provide the most optimal health care environment for preemie development and growth

  • Natural light at the nurses' station
  • Central monitoring
  • Flooring
  • Low Sound Levels
  • Lighting

Where do babies in the NICU sleep?

Our NICU babies use state-of-the-art Giraffe Beds with GE shuttle capabilities. These beds are not only safe and highly advanced, they are also designed for no transfers — the bed goes with the baby, and it grows with the baby as it can be adjusted for his/her needs.

When can I hold my baby? Do you do Kangaroo Care?

We believe that the importance of touch (especially from a parent) is vital to a newborn's development. As soon as baby is stabilized, skin to skin contact encouraged and a Kangaroo Care Schedule is implemented. Sometimes you may need help from your baby's nurse because of your baby's condition or special equipment. Our team will work with you to ensure you and baby are as comfortable as possible.

Are resources available to support NICU parents?

Rose wants NICU parents to know they are not alone, so we offer daily tea time designed for families to interact and we'll help parents facilitate other times to speak with other families. This program is offered weekdays from 3 to 4 p.m. Additionally, a  free continental breakfast is available for birth partners every morning 7 to 9 a.m. in the fish tank waiting area and a NICU parent lounge area is set aside for parents to enjoy a meal (food is not allowed in patient rooms).

Our team also offers a specialized NICU iPads communication program so family can "meet" the new baby or mom can "see" her baby while she continues to recover in a different area of the hospital. If mom is discharged before baby, she can take the iPad home and can spend as much time watching over baby using the iPad.

How often will I be able to visit my infant in the NICU? OR When can I be allowed to see my baby?

You may see your baby as often as you'd like! Parents are always welcome (24/7). We encourage you to care of your infant as much as you can.

You also may create a list of designated visitors allowed to visit baby without being escorted by a parent/guardian with a bracelet matching baby's. During flu season, however, siblings are not allowed in the NICU. Please ask your nurse the dates of flu season for our hospital.

All family and friends are welcome to visit with your permission. But, because newborns are small and might not always feel well, we try to make sure only a few people visit at a time. The number of visitors at one time is at the discretion of the nurse.

Are overnight stays for parents welcome and convenient?

It is incredibly important that moms and dads can touch, talk to, and read to their baby. Parents may room with their infants in the NICU or, for families who live further away from Rose Medical Center, there is an option for families to board on the 3rd floor for a small fee.

Are families allowed to use cell phones while in Rose Babies NICU?

Cell phones are allowed, but must be on vibrate or silent while in the NICU.

Does my preemie qualify for Medicaid or SSI(supplemental security income)?

If you are concerned about financial responsibility/obligation you may speak with a Rose Medical Center social worker to see if your baby qualifies for Medicaid or SSI. The program is not income based while your preemie is in the hospital (that only comes into play after your infant is discharged), so you could very well qualify based on your preemie's birth weight or other qualifications.

Will I have to pay for parking while I am visiting my infant in the NICU?

Rose Medical Center has complimentary valet parking available 24 hours a day! You are also welcome to take advantage of the Rose Babies parking spaces in the self-parking area in the parking garage located at 9th Avenue and Cherry Street. 

Will I have access to my infant's electronic medical chart?

As part of our commitment to family-centered care, you will have access to your infant's medical chart. To access this information, you will need to create a MyHealthOne Account.

If I am uncomfortable with the nurse assigned to my infant may I request a different nurse?

Please ask to speak to the charge nurse or the nurse manager if you have any concerns about the care your baby is receiving. Our number one priority is keeping you and your baby healthy and safe.

When will my baby boy be able to be circumcised if he is in the NICU?

If you have chosen to have your son circumcised, the procedure will take place a few days before going home. You may choose to have the procedure done by your obstetrician or a member of the hospital's obstetrical staff. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about circumcision.

How do families prepare to go home?

To ensure continuity of care, the providers in Rose Babies NICU communicate with your pediatrician in preparation for your baby's discharge. Parents also receive training and an explanation of what to expect at home.

Specialty trained nurses, called discharge planners, provide education to the parents of all NICU infants. Rose Babies recognizes that education and training makes a world of difference in a family's ability to cope with the demands of a fragile infant.

Is there a plan in place for regular follow-up care?

If you have not chosen a pediatrician, Rose Babies will provide you with referrals to providers who will be able to care to for your infant's fragile needs.