When your baby is in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), you want to be sure that they will receive anything and everything that they need. That’s what you can expect in the NICU at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
We have a Level III NICU in our hospital in Colorado Springs and a Level IV NICU on Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. These are the two highest levels of designation for NICUs meaning that we offer the highest level of NICU services for you and your family.
As one of the top neonatology teams in the country, we provide expert care for any condition or injury that your baby might have. As one of the top children’s hospitals in the country, we collaborate with a wide range of specialists in pediatric cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, urology, genetics and many others, all under one roof. Every specialist that your child could need is on site at Children’s Colorado.
Critical care of newborns
When your baby has a serious illness or injury, there’s nowhere else in the Rocky Mountain region where you’d want them to receive care. We specialize in caring for critically ill infants no matter their condition. All our providers have undergone extensive training and have a wealth of experience in caring just for seriously ill newborns. From premature babies to complex heart conditions to breathing issues and so much more, we have experience caring for complex and rare conditions in newborns.
Our highly skilled neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs) and neonatal nurses will lead your baby’s care and collaborate with a range of pediatric specialists to create a complete care plan just for your baby. You’ll also choose a primary nursing team that will stay with you for your entire time in the NICU. This allows our neonatal nurses to get to know your baby and family better and provide the best care. They are better able to help your baby reach development goals and spot potential issues earlier.
Whether you receive a prenatal (before birth) diagnosis and deliver at our Colorado Fetal Care Center or your baby comes here after birth, some of the most experienced neonatal specialists in the country will care for your family. We will work with you to adjust your baby’s care plan to help them meet development goals and thrive — here and at home.
We care for a wide range of neonatal conditions through many specialized neonatology programs.
Learn about our neonatology programs
Multidisciplinary newborn care
Some of the best pediatric specialists in the country come together in our NICU to care for your baby. Multidisciplinary care means that all the specialists involved in your baby’s care come together at one time to create a care plan. It allows you to ask questions of everyone involved in your baby’s care in one visit and is safer and more effective because your entire care team is on the same page.
On a daily basis, you can expect:
- Rounds (routine check-ins) with multiple specialists in your baby’s room
- A comprehensive care plan we’ll adjust as needed to suit your baby’s individual needs
- Recognition as a key partner in your child’s care
Advanced neonatal therapy
Babies in our NICU often need help with daily activities like feeding and meeting developmental milestones. We have numerous specialized therapists to provide expert care and help your baby advance in all areas, including:
- Physical therapy: Focused on providing comfort for your baby, physical therapists promote bonding, healing and development of motor skills in infants.
- Occupational therapy: Our occupational therapists help teach babies skills necessary for their daily activities such as bathing, sleeping, feeding and moving.
- Respiratory therapy: Respiratory therapists provide assistance with deliveries, support for babies on ventilation and ongoing care for babies with breathing issues.
- Speech and language therapy: Neonatal speech language pathologists help your baby develop feeding, swallowing and early communications skills. They understand the unique needs of babies in the NICU and help them take foundational steps toward feeding and communicating.
These therapists will work with you and your baby as often as needed to help your baby feed, swallow, develop strength, breathe and more. They will create a care plan just for your baby designed to help them develop foundational skills that allow them to grow and thrive here in the NICU and when you go home.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
ECMO is a support technique for babies with severe heart or lung problems. When a baby’s heart or lungs can’t work on their own, our experts use ECMO to add oxygen to the baby’s blood while their heart or lungs recover and gain strength.
We have a team of ECMO specialists trained to monitor babies who need support one-on-one. Our ECMO Program is one of 16 worldwide recognized at the platinum level by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization. This recognition shows that we have met the highest standards for ECMO use when caring for newborns with life-threatening lung and heart conditions.
Specialized neonatology services
Babies in the NICU are not simply smaller children. They have special needs and require specialized treatments from qualified experts. At Children’s Colorado, we have the expertise to provide just the care that critically ill newborns need, including:
- Neonatal transport services: When babies need transportation from an underserved area or to a higher level of care, our neonatal transport specialists provide it in vehicles designed specifically for infants and children.
- Neonatal dietary and nutrition support: Babies in the NICU often have unique dietary needs or challenges. So our dietitians and nutritionists are trained specifically in caring for newborns so your baby can grow up as healthy as possible. They will also help prepare you to go home and feel confident to care for any dietary challenges your baby has.
- Neonatal pharmacy service: Medicine affects our tiniest patients differently than toddlers or teenagers, so we have pharmacists with special expertise in deciding the appropriate medication and dose for critically ill newborns.
- Palliative care: If your baby has a critical illness, our providers can help ease any symptoms, stress and discomfort you and your baby are feeling.
Neonatal support services
In addition to providing expert care for your baby, we provide many services for you and your family to help your baby grow up healthy and make your time with us easier.
Some of the support services we provide include:
- Breastfeeding and lactation support: Certified lactation consultants and nurses will help you provide breast milk to your baby for optimal nutrition or find the best feeding solution for you. We are familiar with the challenges of supplying breast milk in the NICU and will help make it a reality for you if you choose.
- Psychological and social support: Because having a baby in the NICU can affect your whole life, we provide numerous mental health and social work services to help you deal with any challenges and the transition home.
When you are in our NICU, we want you to feel like you are in a home-like environment. We encourage you to be with your baby as much as you can and help you bond with them while they’re receiving care. Our nursing team helps you celebrate special milestones and holidays that happen while you are in the NICU. Some of our caregivers may start to feel like your family and we will care for you like you’re part of ours.
Where to find NICU services
Learn where to find NICU services at Children’s Colorado locations.
As one of the busiest NICUs in the country, we have plenty of experience caring for conditions other NICUs might not see often. This experience leads to better outcomes for your baby and improved long-term health. Our experience and expertise allows us to treat each family as individuals and do whatever is best for your baby and family.