What to Expect During Your Baby’s NICU Stay
Many people are surprised to see how busy our NICU is. It’s easy to feel intimidated by the number of providers on our unit, the advanced technology and the needs each baby (including yours) has. You can count on the care team to help you feel at ease in this unfamiliar environment. They are here to answer your questions and make sure you have the information and support you need.
Your baby’s core team of providers will include:
- An experienced neonatologist, who is responsible for your baby’s care
- An advanced practice nurse or another advanced practice provider
- A bedside nurse
- A respiratory therapist
- And, sometimes, a neonatology fellow (a doctor receiving advanced training in neonatal care)
You will see these providers during “daily rounds” and at other times during the day.
Your child’s care team also will include other providers, including:
- Pediatric doctors and surgeons, such as urologists, neurologists and heart specialists
- Lactation consultants from our Center for Breastfeeding Medicine
- Social workers
- Music therapists
These providers also participate in daily rounds. They may come to your child’s room at other times to check on your baby’s progress, provide treatments, talk about your child’s medical needs, do health screenings, answer your questions and help you prepare for the day you take your child home.
Your child’s neonatologist and nurses will make sure your child’s care is well-coordinated. If you have any questions, be sure to ask.
During daily rounds, the neonatologist and team will come to your baby’s bedside to discuss updates on your baby’s condition and develop the daily care plan. We hope you will participate in this discussion every day. When you cannot attend, the doctor or nurse practitioner will call you to share what happened.
Preparing for Your Baby’s NICU Discharge
The day your child comes home from the hospital is filled with excitement. But it can be a little bit scary, too. We will make sure you have the information and support you need so that you are ready for this next phase of your family’s life.
A nurse coordinator will work with you and the care team to develop a discharge plan before your baby is ready to go home. This plan may include:
- Having healthcare providers come to your home
- Connecting you with a social worker who will ensure you have the resources you need (medical, financial, emotional, etc.)
- Training you on any medical equipment or supplies you’ll need at home
- Meeting with a dietitian to develop a feeding plan if your child has special nutritional needs
- Making an appointment with our Newborn Intensive Care Follow-Up Clinic. There, specialists care for babies with complex medical needs who may need longer-term support to reach their full potential
Your baby’s neonatologist will send your pediatrician a letter detailing the NICU stay and discharge plan.
If you have questions or concerns after leaving the hospital with your baby, you can always call the NICU to speak with a member of our team. But in most situations, your pediatrician is the best resource since he or she is your child’s primary care provider.