Most babies are born healthy and never need our care. But for those who do, it's reassuring to know that we're here to offer our expertise and support.
The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. John's Hospital cares for babies who are premature or need extra medical care after birth. Our NICU is a Level IIIa nursery. This means we treat babies as premature as 28 weeks gestation and care for sick newborns.
Our model of care
Our NICU has implemented a holistic developmental model of care. This means we pay special attention to your baby's total health — body, mind and spirit. We offer sensitive, individualized care that focuses on your baby's cues rather than tasks and schedules. This supportive care emphasizes family bonding.
As a complement to your baby's medical care, infant massage, healing touch, essential oils (prepared especially for newborns) or music therapy may also be used. We alter the amount of light and noise around your baby to decrease stress and maintain a calming surrounding. We're proud to be among the first NICUs in the nation to offer this unique combination of developmental care and healing arts.
NICU care team
The NICU is staffed around the clock by specially trained registered nurses (RNs), neonatal nurse practitioners and neonatologists. Our staff will provide expert, family-centered, holistic care to your newborn, your family and you.
During your baby's stay in the NICU, the nurses will explain the monitors, tests and other equipment. We'll also give you constant updates and suggest ways you can bond with your baby while he or she is in the hospital.
Visiting your baby in the NICU
Since parents are the most important people in their babies' lives, we encourage you to be with your baby as much as possible. For other visitors to the NICU, please see our current visitor policy.
Bonding with your baby
Moms and dads are encouraged to be with and help care for their baby whenever possible. Feeding, changing diapers and simply spending time with your baby will help you learn your baby's cues and anticipate his or her needs. Spending as much time as you can with your baby will also make going home easier.
Many babies — and parents — also benefit from "kangaroo care." Wearing a diaper and a hat, your baby snuggles up on your bare chest with a blanket covering the two of you. The skin-to-skin contact has shown to be beneficial to premature and sick infants.
Having a baby in the NICU can be a stressful, uncertain time. For families seeking spiritual support, chaplains are available at the hospital to talk, pray or simply listen. They offer comfort and guidance to people of all faiths. A prayer service is also held each day at noon in the hospital's chapel.
Most babies are admitted to the NICU shortly after birth. A common question from moms and dads is, "When can I take my baby home?" Just as each baby is unique, each stay in the NICU is different and depends on your baby's gestational age and how he or she is progressing. You'll get frequent updates from your child's doctor and nurses.
For some new parents, caring for a sick or tiny baby can be frightening. We'll make sure you have the support you need so you can confidently care for your child when your baby is ready to go home.
For more information
To learn more about the NICU or for a tour of St. John's Maternity Care, call 651-232-7550.