Orientation to Children's Hospital Colorado Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
When you first enter the waiting area, you will speak with the unit secretary. The unit secretary will direct you to your baby’s bedside. At that time, a member of your baby’s healthcare team will explain the surroundings, equipment and review your baby’s care. Please check in with the unit secretary each time you enter the nursery.
Parents are welcomed and encouraged to be with their baby at any time. Visiting arrangements can be made for other family members, friends or clergy. Please contact the unit secretary and he or she will provide the necessary paperwork for protection of your confidentiality regarding visitors. A health screening is given to all children under 12 years of age, and healthy siblings are encouraged to visit. View a typical NICU patient room.
What to Bring
You are welcome to bring books, clothes, toys and blankets for your baby. Please label everything with your baby’s name. Children's Hospital Colorado cannot be responsible for any items you bring into the hospital. Learn more about your visit to Children's Hospital Colorado and how to prepare.
Breast milk can be an important source of nutrition for your baby. If you wish to breastfeed or pump, your baby’s nurse is available to assist you. We also provide consultation with in-house lactation specialists if necessary. Breast milk is stored and prepared for your baby in the Milk Lab, located just inside the entrance to the NICU.
You are welcome to call anytime to check on your baby’s progress. To ensure accurate communication and confidentiality, we prefer to give medical information only to parents. If you would like someone else to receive information by phone, please inform the unit secretary and he or she will provide the necessary paperwork for protection of your confidentiality.
Because of small infant blood volumes and frequent laboratory testing, the need for blood transfusions is common. All blood products are thoroughly screened to reduce the risks of transfusion-acquired diseases. If you would like to designate a blood donor for your baby, it is important to notify nursery staff as soon as possible after admission as it takes a few days to screen donor blood before it can be given to a patient. Please discuss any concerns you may have about blood transfusions with your baby’s nurse or doctor. Learn more about directed blood donations at Children's Hospital Colorado.
Taking Pictures of Your Child
We encourage you to bring your camera to take pictures of your baby. We also have a Polaroid camera available for your use.
As Your Baby Gets Better
Prior to your baby’s discharge, we suggest that you write down all questions and concerns you may have, and discuss them with a member of your baby’s healthcare team. If your baby is going home, we recommend that you bring clothes, blankets and a car seat. Colorado state law requires the use of an infant car seat. Check with your nurse if you need assistance getting an infant car seat.
Our staff will help you to be as comfortable as possible with your baby’s post-hospital care needs. We will provide detailed medical information to your primary care doctor to support a safe, smooth transition. Occasionally, some babies require special attention, community-based resources and support when they go home, such as nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy.
Home Healthcare Services
Nursing care, physical therapy and speech/language therapy may be available to serve you and your family in the Denver metro area and other outlying areas and states. Your baby’s healthcare team is available to work collaboratively to assist you in arranging home healthcare services with an agency in your community. After discharge, if there are problems related to these home services, one of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) case managers would gladly assist you in problem solving or providing information.