Children's Hospital Colorado

Our pioneering neonatal program treats the smallest patients at their most vulnerable, achieving the outcomes that affect the rest of their lives.

Best Children's Hospital by U.S. News & World Report Neonatology 2021-2 Badge


Our Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) on Anschutz Medical Campus and in Colorado Springs provide exceptional care for our smallest patients. But our specialized care doesn’t stop there. Dedicated small baby care teams in our NICUs offer another level of expertise for the smallest and most premature babies in our care.

What is small baby care?

Babies who are born very prematurely or underweight benefit from treatment plans and an environment that are tailored specifically to their unique needs. At Children’s Hospital Colorado, we provide that environment and a team of neonatal specialists who are trained specifically to care for extremely premature and underweight babies.

We care for any baby who needs our specialized treatment, but typically babies born before 32 weeks gestation benefit the most from our dedicated expertise for small and premature babies. Our small baby care has a dedicated space of 10 or more beds in our Anschutz NICU and dedicated beds as needed in our Colorado Springs NICU.

A special environment designed just for small babies and their families

Our soothing environment with minimal light, sound and stimulus helps reduce stress and overstimulation for newborns and aids healthy development.

Parents are encouraged to sleep in the NICU rooms to be close to their babies, and if you need a break, we have sleep rooms outside the NICU away from medical equipment. We also provide family lounges where you can enjoy some personal space, eat and store food.

These small and premature babies receive care from a variety of caregivers, from neonatologists to neonatal nurses to therapists, who are specially trained in the unique developmental needs and care techniques for extremely small babies. Our providers know the challenges these babies face and how to develop an individualized care plan for your baby so they can grow up as healthy as possible.

As one of the top NICUs in the country, we regularly provide many neonatal services in collaboration with our pediatric subspecialists to treat any neonatal condition your baby may be facing. We bring that same level of expertise and experience and tailor it specifically for very small and premature babies.

What should you expect from small baby care?

Once you and your baby are in one of our NICUs, we’ll determine if your baby is best served receiving specialized small and premature baby care. If so, you will stay in one of our designated small baby rooms. Here, a multidisciplinary team of trained providers will continually monitor and care for your baby and update you on their progress. This team may also feature pediatric subspecialists from across our hospital, such as cardiology, pulmonology and neurology experts, depending on your baby’s condition.

You will also have a primary nursing team who will care for your baby and family throughout your NICU stay. These neonatal nurses will come to know your baby very well and have the most insight into their needs. Once your baby grows and becomes healthier, they will move into a regular NICU room where your primary nursing team will stay with your family.

We will continue to care for your baby in our NICU for as long as appropriate. When it is time to go home, our discharge coordinators will make sure you feel comfortable caring for your baby at home. They’ll also coordinate all your follow-up care, if necessary.

Who provides small baby care?

Your baby’s care team is determined by your baby’s individual needs, and we will include any specialists needed to help your baby develop. All our neonatal experts involved in small baby care undergo initial and ongoing simulation and interactive training on the latest care techniques unique to extremely small and premature babies. Your care team may include:

  • Neonatologists: These pediatricians have additional training and certification in care for critically ill newborns.
  • Neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs): NNPs are advanced practice nurses who hold a master’s or doctorate degree and have undergone extra training in newborn care.
  • Neonatal nurses: Our registered nurses have additional training in newborn critical care and small baby care.
  • Neonatal therapists: Respiratory, occupational, speech, feeding or physical therapists trained in small baby development may help your baby as needed.
  • Lactation specialists: Registered nurses certified in lactation counseling and trained for the unique feeding challenges of extremely small babies are available to help you.
  • Pediatric subspecialists: Any pediatric specialist needed for your baby’s care is available 24/7.

Why choose Children’s Colorado for your small or premature baby?

If you have an extremely premature or underweight baby, you need highly specialized care for their unique needs. We offer the most experienced dedicated small baby program in the Rocky Mountain region and improve the long-term quality of life for these babies.

Our entire small baby team, including neonatologists, NNPs, therapists and more than 80 nurses, undergoes regular training on caring for small babies. We are constantly improving that training based on new research and our outcomes. We have a collaborative leadership team featuring doctors, nurses, therapists and other providers who meet frequently to improve our small baby care.

Whether your baby is underweight or born with a heart, breathing, neurological or other medical condition, we have some of the best specialists in the country to care for them — and they are here 24/7. Your baby will never have to wait for care from some of the most qualified pediatric specialists in the country.

Contact the Small Baby Program

For more information about our Small Baby Program, please call 720-777-6857.