Checking on your baby when you're not in the NICU

Most NICUs welcome parents' calls to check on their baby any time, day or night, except during the morning and evening shift changes (usually 1-hour periods). Staff in the NICU will provide you with the NICU telephone number. If the nursery is very busy when you call, you may have to leave a message, or you may have to call again.

Some NICUs provide other ways of keeping contact with parents. Ask your social worker or baby's nurse about other possible options.

See also: Share your story

August 2009

Most common questions

Is it OK to hold my baby in the NICU?

It depends on your baby's health overall. Some newborn intensive care units (NICUs) will encourage you to hold your baby from birth onward. Other NICUs will want you to wait until your baby's health is stable. Ask your NICU staff about its policy on kangaroo care (holding your baby on your bare chest). Kangaroo care has benefits for both you and your baby. The skin-to-skin contact is a precious way to be close to your baby. You may be afraid you'll hurt him by holding him. But you won't. Your baby knows your scent, touch and the rhythms of your speech and breathing, and he’ll enjoy feeling that closeness with you.

My baby was born full term. Why is she in the NICU?

Not all newborn intensive care unit (NICU) babies are born premature. Some babies, even those born full term, may need special care. Your baby may need to spend some time in the NICU if she had a difficult delivery, has breathing problems, has infections or has birth defects.

Most babies leave the NICU just fine. Others may need more special care once they're home.

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