The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a 39-bed unit for newborns who were born prematurely, need specialized treatment or are sick. An in-house neonatal intensivist is available around the clock to provide the most advanced evidenced-base care for our tiniest population.

Babies in the NICU are cared for in state-of-the-art Giraffe OmniBeds, which are specialized incubators and infant warmers all-in-one, reducing the stress on baby.

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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 needs. For instance, some infants are too premature or too sick to eat on their own, so they have a feeding tube that runs through the mouth and into the stomach. 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 prior to visiting at the NICU's front sinks.

We are open for 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 must be accompanied by mom or dad. The sibling visitation policy changes during flu season, which is typically from October to March. During flu season the age requirements vary according to Center for Disease Control recommendations.

Nurses change shift 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.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
We encourage parents to arrive 10-15 minutes early so that they can be involved in providing care. We “cluster” all care in order to allow babies to have undisturbed sleep, which is very important to an infant's growth and healing process.

Occasionally, care times need to be changed, so please communicate daily with your nurse and review the white board 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 care for premature and sick infants.

  • Neonatologist: Your baby’s doctor in the NICU. There are multiple doctors that 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 can.

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.

Rooming In

We have a room specifically designated for new parents to stay with their baby in a home-like setting and provide care throughout the night before going home.

This is an opportunity for parents to have the experience they missed in postpartum and feel comfortable and confident when they go home.

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 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.

Taking Your Baby Home

Expect your baby to be with us until your due date. Some babies leave sooner and some stay longer.

Infants are considered ready to go home once they can maintain their own body temperature in an open crib, feed from the breast or bottle without difficulty and grow and gain weight.

However, prior to discharge, parents demonstrate their ability to provide care and complete the following:

Select a Pediatrician
Regular appointments with a pediatrician must begin shortly following discharge to monitor your baby's health and growth.

If you haven’t selected a pediatrician, we offer tools to help you find the right pediatrician: Interview a Pediatrician.

Our pediatricians have specialized training in children's healthcare needs. We see children from birth to age 18 for:

  • Wellness and preventive visits
  • Sick Visits
  • Immunizations
  • Behavioral health visits

  • Allergy
  • Asthma
  • Common cold
  • Diabetes
Children's Emergency Room

Enroll in infant CPR
CPR is strongly encouraged for all caregivers. This one hour long class is free and provided by our staff in the NICU conference room. The sign up form is available at the front desk, ask your nurse for more details.

Install a Car Seat
Car seats are available starting at 4 lbs. Make sure you have the correct size for your baby.

Your baby may be required to pass a “car seat challenge.” This is a test to verify that your baby is safe in the car seat.

The Child Health Institute Car Seat Safety Station will provide a car seat inspection of your car seat installation.

For car seat questions or to schedule an appointment, please contact Renown Car Seat Safety at 775-982-2620.

Car Seat Safety Station
1095 E. 2nd Street
Reno, NV 89502
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Video Library

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