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Neonatal ICU Parent Information

Welcome to our Regional Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Below are guidelines to help you understand the NICU and the special steps we take to ensure we provide the highest level of care for your baby. Our unit can be reached at (256) 265-7317.


To protect your privacy we ask that you choose a password to be used only by mom and dad/significant other. When you call, your nurse will
ask you for the password before giving you any information over the phone. Please ask all other family members and friends not to call the nursery since no information can be given to them. To protect everyone’s privacy, parents and visitors must stay at their infant’s bed and are discouraged from asking about another infant’s condition.

Caring for Your Baby

Only two people per baby may enter the unit at one time. The mother and her designated significant other are welcome in the NICU any time except during shift change (6 – 7:30 a.m. and 6 – 7:30 p.m.). You may be asked to step into the waiting area during certain medical procedures.


Each time you enter the unit you are asked to stop and wash with soap and water. You should always sanitize your hands before contact with your baby or bedside. Good hand washing prevents infection. Re-sanitizing may be necessary after changing your baby’s diaper, touching your face or your cell phone.


Sick or premature infants are extremely susceptible to illness. Please do not enter if you are ill. Everyone who is in contact with your baby must be free from symptoms of illness such as cough, cold or fever.


When you arrive, please have your photo ID with you and check in with the security greeter outside the unit. You may use the phone on the wall if no one is at the desk.

Food and Drinks

Food consumption is not allowed in the NICU. We do encourage
our breastfeeding moms to drink plenty of water, therefore, water in a covered container is allowed.

Cell Phones/Electronic Devices

Please silence your cell phone before entering the unit. You may use your phone to photograph or video of your baby. Please respect the privacy
of others and only photograph your baby. For infection control purposes please sanitize your hands after touching your phone, before touching your baby or the bedside. For safety and infection control purposes do not use your phone during patient cares or while you are holding your baby.

Care of Your Sick/Premature Baby

Babies are unique and different and so are their needs and tolerances. For more information on special care for your baby, see the Developmental Care handout.

Keeping You Informed

Being available at the bedside is the best way to learn about your child’s care and progress. The doctors, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and other disciplinary teams will discuss your baby’s plan of care each day. This usually occurs around 10 a.m. in Intensive Care Nursery and sometime before noon in Progressive Care Nursery and Special Care. We encourage you to be a part of your child’s care and welcome you to attend bedside rounds as much as possible. We also understand that being a NICU parent is challenging and you may not be able to be with your baby as much as you would like. If you are unable to be present during rounds your bedside nurse can make arrangements for you to participate by phone or if you cannot participate at that time your nurse will update you to the plan of care discussed during bedside rounds.

Our Unit

There are many different people on your baby’s team. The “Our Team” page will help you get a better understanding of the roles we play in getting your little one well. You will begin to hear and learn many different medical terms. Our “NICU Glossary” can help you get more familiar with some of these terms. We want you to know you are the most important member of your baby’s team. Sometimes we don’t realize we are using a foreign medical language. If this happens and you don’t understand something please ask about it so we can make sure you understand the plan of care.

Lactation Consultants

We have Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) available in the NICU to assist you and your baby through your NICU breastfeeding journey. Step cards are at your baby’s bedside and will be updated as breastfeeding progresses.

Discharge Teaching

We will be teaching you care for your infant along the way Before you go home a nurse will sit with you to go over detailed discharge instructions and make sure you understand how to care for your baby at home.


After you are released from the hospital, you may be selected to participate in the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey. The survey is sent to you by mail, email or text and asks multiple-choice questions about your hospital stay. Please take the time to fill out the HCAHPS survey; your feedback is valuable!

The HCAHPS survey measures your satisfaction with the quality of your care. It is designed to be a standardized tool for measuring and reporting satisfaction across all hospitals in the U.S. Backed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the HCAHPS survey is used to improve the quality of health care. HCAHPS makes survey results public so hospitals are aware of where changes are needed. The results also enable health care consumers to review and compare hospitals before choosing a provider.

If you have any issues or concerns that need to be addressed during your stay, please ask to speak to a charge nurse.