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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UI Health provides the best possible care for premature newborns and critically ill infants.

Whether planned or unplanned, having a newborn in the NICU can be an extremely stressful time. We are here to ensure you and your family receive the best care and support during your time in the NICU, and that you are prepared for a safe, comfortable transition home.

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About the NICU

Our pediatric hospital floor features a 52-bed unit designated as a Level III NICU, delivering a range of comprehensive specialty care to infants with critical and life-threatening conditions. We also are state-designated Perinatal Center and Regional Center of Excellence for neonatal care, and our Neonatal-Perinatal specialists have a special transport team in place for babies who need to be transferred to UI Health from all over the region and state.

Your Baby's Care Team

Many highly skilled providers make up your baby's care team, including neonatologists, neonatal nurses, social workers, respiratory and developmental therapists, and lactation consultants. In the NICU, your child is cared for by a nurse 24 hours a day.

You also are a vital part of your infant's care team! We encourage parents to actively participate in communications during shift changes and medical rounds to share observations. During their stay, parents are supported in learning more about their baby's unique cues and needs. This learning is facilitated by nurses, occupational and physical therapists, and developmental care specialists. Families also have the opportunity to meet with an Advanced Practice Nurse to ask questions away from the bedside in an open forum with other NICU parents.

We provide parents and families with the tools necessary for a smooth transition to home. We teach our families how to properly feed babies, including breastfeeding practices and safe formula preparation. Parents also learn about infant CPR and safe car seat use. Additionally, all families learn about safe sleep practices for their babies.

Family Support and Events

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Lactation Services
Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed and nurture a baby. However, it is a learned art, and some new mothers benefit from knowledge and practical assistance to help them have positive breastfeeding experiences. At UI Health, our breastfeeding support programs are designed to offer education, counseling and support so that breastfeeding can be a rewarding experience for mom, baby, and the whole the family. Our International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) provide lactation care, consultation, education, and support to new moms. Our series of prenatal classes feature a section on breastfeeding; we provide over-the-phone consults both before and after birth; and we host a weekly breastfeeding club at the Outpatient Care Center. We also maintain pumping rooms in the hospital and throughout the campus for guests and employees.

Parents Are Great Scrapbooking (PAGES!)
Scrapbooking takes place on Wednesdays from 3–5 pm in the NICU conference room. NICU parents are invited to bring photos, footprints and other mementos to the conference room to preserve memories and get to know other parents. Scrapbooking supplies are provided and, if desired, a member of the NICU staff can take and print pictures of your baby. PAGES! is facilitated by our NICU social worker, Mary Ann Fontana, and our NICU Family Support Specialist, Jessica Bowen.

Journey Beads Group
Twice a month, NICU families are invited to construct charm bracelets from beads that symbolize their baby’s NICU journey. We celebrate their baby’s milestones and talk about the challenges with other NICU parents. The Journey Beads Group is facilitated by NICU Family Support Specialist Jessica Bowen.

Contact Us

For transfer and admission to the NICU, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Inpatient Pediatric Floor, and Pediatric Surgery, please call 855.842.2484.

For more information on the NICU, please download our NICU Handbook.

Request an Appointment

To make an appointment, please fill out the online form or call 312.996.7416.

View our clinic locations and get directions to UI Health here.