What to Expect in the NICU
Your baby will receive care tailored to his or her specific needs in Renown's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Most NICU babies are on special feeding schedules, depending on their level of development or medical conditions. Some infants are too premature or sick to eat independently, so a feeding tube runs through the mouth and into the stomach, while others need high-calorie diets to help them grow.
Our Visiting Policy
Infants in the NICU are at high risk for infection. Therefore, all visitors must perform a two-minute scrub before visiting the NICU.
- We are open to visiting 24 hours a day and allow two visitors at each bedside at a time. One visitor must be a banded parent. Parents are usually allowed to stay most of the day.
- Siblings age four and older are allowed to visit once per week for a few minutes and be accompanied by mom or dad—the sibling visitation policy changes during flu season, typically from October to March. During flu season, the age requirements vary according to Center for Disease Control recommendations.
- Nurses change shift is around 6:45 to 7:15 a.m./p.m., so it's best to avoid visiting during these times.
Bonding, Feeding, and Care
Bonding with a baby in the NICU is as important as bonding with any newborn, sometimes even more so. We encourage parents to visit the NICU a couple of times each day to provide care and bond with their baby. Feedings and care (diaper changes, temperature readings, etc.) occur every three hours. Feeding plans are individualized based on gestational age, diagnosis, and readiness. In some cases, the Developmental Specialist will further assist in bottle recommendations and feeding techniques.
We encourage parents to arrive 10-15 minutes early to be involved in providing care. We "cluster" all care to allow babies to have an undisturbed sleep, which is very important to an infant's growth and healing process. Occasionally, care times need adjusting, so please communicate daily with your nurse and review the whiteboard at your baby's bedside for an accurate schedule.
The NICU Team
The NICU is staffed around the clock by medical professionals who specialize in premature and sick infants.
Neonatologist: Your baby's doctor in the NICU. Multiple doctors cover the unit. There is one doctor on-site at all times.
- Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP): Specializes in neonatal care. They assist the neonatologists in daily rounds and help make care decisions.
- Registered Nurses: Primary care nurses who provide care for 12-hour shifts.
- Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT): Monitor infant breathing and oxygen needs and specialize in respiratory equipment.
- Lactation Consultant: Registered Nurses who specialize in breastfeeding and breast pumps.
- Social Worker/Case Coordinator: Provide support and resources during the NICU stay.
- Developmental Specialist: Specialize in infant development.
- Registered Dietitian: Collaborate with doctors and NNPs to monitor infant growth and nutrition.
Please direct any questions or concerns to the staff. If one staff member can't answer your question, they will find a person who will assist you.
Breastfeeding and Lactation Assistance
Breastfeeding and or pumping is strongly encouraged and supported in the NICU. Lactation nurses are available to assist with breastfeeding and pumping, and pumps are available in the NICU to pump at your baby's bedside. If you plan to use the NICU-provided pumps, please make sure to bring the appropriate attachments. Continued breastfeeding support is available through the Lactation Connection.
We have a room designated for new parents to stay with their baby in a home-like setting and provide care throughout the night before going home, helping parents feel more comfortable and confident.
Neonatal Transport Team
The Neonatal Transport Team brings infants with serious illnesses, injuries, or complications to Renown Children's Hospital from outlying communities within a 200-mile radius of Reno. Ambulances and planes with neonatal care equipment take the team to rural areas to begin treatment and bring the child to the safety and comfort of Renown's NICU.