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Visiting the NICU



An infant’s journey from the womb to the world can be difficult, especially for those in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. That’s why a baby in the NICU needs the same love and attention as other newborns. The large machinery and the fragile health of your child shouldn’t keep you from visiting, because that is the best way to be involved in your baby’s care. 

The Walter R. G. Baker NICU is located on the ninth floor of Crouse Hospital's Irving Unit. Keeping in mind the ever-changing needs of our littlest patients, visiting hours and requirements may change as needed. For more information about visiting the NICU, please call 315/470-7577.

Parent Participation
Parents are encouraged to be with their baby as often as possible. In fact, for this reason, you can be with your baby anytime -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visiting as often as possible helps to calm and comfort both you and your child. For the security of you and your baby, please wear your baby’s identification bracelet on your wrist at all times or have picture identification ready.

Non-Parent Visitation

To ensure the safety of our newborns, all other visitors must be accompanied by one of the newborn’s parents. All visitors must be older than 18 years of age and must show photo identification.

We only allow parents to obtain information about a NICU patient. We understand how exciting it is to share news about the progress of your baby, so we provide CaringBridge, a free personalized online service that allows you to update family and friends. A CaringBridge kiosk is located in the NICU Family Waiting Area.


Visiting the NICU
When visiting, please follow these guidelines for the health of your baby and to respect the needs of staff or physicians providing care:

  • Remove coats and hang in provided area
  • Turn off cell phones
  • Wash and dry hands and arms thoroughly
  • Rewash hands if you have touched your face, hair, purse, camera, etc.
  • Remain at your own baby’s bedside
  • Only two visitors at your infant’s bedside at a time
  • Visitors must be free of illness (colds, coughs, rash, diarrhea, sore throat, vomiting, etc.)
  • When finished with your visit, please wash your hands

Use of Camera & Video Equipment

Still photos and videos of your baby may be taken with your camera or video camera at anytime. If you so choose, professional photographers can provide portrait photographs prior to discharge. There is a fee for these photographs and arrangements may be made at the nurse’s station. Please do not photograph or videotape other infants in the unit.


NICU Knowledge System

Our user-friendly computer kiosk provides parents with current information about the NICU. The kiosk is available in the NICU Family Waiting Area.


NICU Vocabulary

When you’re in the NICU, you may hear many technical terms the staff uses while caring for your baby. You may want to familiarize yourself with these terms to better understand the NICU environment.

  • Antibiotics: Medicine used to treat infection
  • Apnea: A pause in breathing for 20 seconds, or shorter length of time, accompanied by a slower than normal heart rate (bradycardia), skin that has a blue tinge from lack of oxygen (cyanosis) and/or a very pale color (pallor).
  • Bilirubin (Bili): A substance made by the body when red blood cells are broken down. Too much Bilirubin causes neonatal jaundice, meaning that the baby’s skin will look yellow.
  • Blood gas: A blood test taken to measure the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and acid (pH) in the baby’s blood. This test indicates how well the baby’s lungs are working.
  • Bradycardia: A slowing of the baby’s heart beat below the normal levels of the resting heart rate.
  • IV Catheter: A tube used to administer fluids and medications.
  • Colostrum: Breast milk produced during the first few days after birth. Colostrum is high in antibodies that help protect the baby from infection.
  • Cyanosis: Blueness of the skin resulting from a lack of oxygen.
  • Endotracheal (ET) Tube: A soft plastic tube inserted into the baby’s mouth and down the trachea that is connected to a machine (ventilator), which helps the baby breathe.
  • Gavage Feeding: A method of feeding in which a soft tube is inserted into the baby’s nose or mouth and into the stomach to provide food if the baby cannot suck or swallow.
  • Hematocrit (Crit): The percentage of red blood cells in the blood.
  • Incubator (Isolette): A clear, enclosed bed that provides a warm temperature-controlled environment for sick or premature babies.
  • Jaundice: When the baby’s skin appears yellow due to an increased amount of bilirubin in the blood
  • Meconium: A dark green or black tarry stool formed in the baby’s intestines while the baby is still in the uterus. This stool is passed as a newborn in the first few days of life.
  • Neonate: A baby who is 30 days old or younger.
  • NPO: An abbreviation for “nothing by mouth,” meaning that the baby cannot receive anything through the mouth.
  • Premature ("preemie"): A baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • PICC Line: An intravenous (IV) tube providing fluids into a large vein that can be left in place for 30 days or longer.
  • Respirator (ventilator): A machine used to help the baby breathe.
  • Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS): A lung complication in which the baby’s air sacs (alveoli) collapse when the baby exhales due to an absence of surfactant.
  • Sepsis: An infection in the blood.
  • Sepsis workup: A series of tests that looks for sepsis in the blood, urine, spinal fluid and/or lungs.
  • Tachypnea: Faster than normal breathing rate.
  • Vital signs: Measurement of the baby’s heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, breathing rate and pain assesment.
  • Warmer (radiant warmer): An open bed with radiant heaters above it. Warmers help warm the baby immediately after birth and allow care givers to more easily access the baby. 

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