Some babies need extra care. Our level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit(NICU) is equipped and staffed 24 hours a day to provide newborn critical care. Each year, sick or premature infants from 16 Central New York counties receive care in our Level III NICU. The nursery is located on the same floor as Labor and Delivery, the Mother-Baby Unit and the Birth Place.
Designed as a place for babies and parents, it is as calming and nurturing as it is technologically advanced. The NICU staff realizes that having a baby in an intensive care unit can be a stressful time for your entire family. We are committed to family-centered care and strive to take your needs into consideration, while providing optimum care for your baby. Every effort is made to allow parents to participate in and learn more about their baby’s care during the hospital stay.
The NICU is fully staffed with registered nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners and board-certified neonatologists specially trained in the care of infants born prematurely and/or with special needs.
Our team provides coordination of developmental care for infants. The team can assess infant behavior, provide support to parents, and can help you chart your baby’s progress. Your baby may be followed by a developmental specialist after discharge to ensure they are progressing as expected.
Parents are encouraged to visit their baby as often as possible. Family and friends can visit the baby accompanied by one parent. You are limited to two visitors at the bedside at one time. All visitors to the NICU must be free from illness.
Siblings over age three may visit with parents. Please arrange visiting time in advance with staff. Visiting siblings must wear cover gown, mask and gloves. Other visiting children may look through the window of the NICU.
What You Can Do
While visiting, parents are encouraged to participate in the baby’s care as the medical condition allows. Talk to your baby in a soft, gentle tone. You may bring pictures for your baby to look at or a small toy that can sit next to the baby's bed. Parents are encouraged to hold their baby skin to skin (kangaroo care) to provide warmth, comfort and bonding.
Continuing with the family centered care model, parents are encouraged to attend daily rounds with their babies' treatment team, which may include MDs, NNPs, RNs, LC, Case Manager, Social Worker, and Spiritual Care. This allows parents to stay up to date on their babies' plan of care and ask questions as needed.
Feeding Your Baby in NICU
In many instances, babies in the intensive care nursery are unable to be fed in the "traditional" ways (breast or bottle). Your baby may receive nutrition by IV (intravenous) fluids or a feeding tube. Your baby’s physician will determine when he/she is able to feed orally.
Breast-feeding Your Baby
Breast-feeding is very beneficial for all babies, even those requiring special care. If you would like to breast-feed your baby, please make sure your baby’s physician and our NICU staff are aware of your preference. A lactation lounge (with electric pump) is available for you to use while visiting your baby and you can bring your breast milk to the NICU from home. The staff will arrange a rental pump for you to use at home.
You may photograph or videotape your own baby as often as you wish; we ask that you not photograph any other baby, nursery surroundings, hospital staff or any of the equipment in the NICU.
Overnight/Extended Visit Accommodations
Our staff can assist you in making arrangements to stay at the local Ronald McDonald House or perhaps at another facility if you are discharged before your baby.
When Your Baby Is Ready to Go Home
A comprehensive discharge plan is arranged for your baby from the moment he or she enters the NICU. Our case manager will meet with you early on and help you through the transition from hospital to home; to obtain specialists, services and equipment if necessary; and help ease any concerns you may have. An instruction room is available in the NICU where parents may spend a night with their baby, learning to care for him/her before discharge. If your baby should need any special equipment or skilled nursing services, one of our staff members will work with you to meet your baby’s needs and prepare you for going home.
Because the NICU staff matches both baby and mother ID bracelets at infant discharge, mothers of infants in NICU need to keep their ID bracelet on until their baby is discharged.
Under New York state law, any child under the age of seven riding in a car must be in a federally approved car seat. Any baby less than 35 weeks of age will have a car seat evaluation done in the NICU prior to discharge.
Take a First Hand Look
If you would like to tour the intensive care nursery before your baby is born, please call 315-448-5515 to arrange an appointment.