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For Parents

hero_services_NICU_parents so much going through your mind, you may not know what to expect from the Walter R. G. Baker Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). To help answer questions and ease your concerns, we encourage you to view the comprehensive virtual tour below and read through this section. If you still have questions or concerns, please speak with one of the NICU nurses or contact us.

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 Calling the NICU

Parents may call at any point and speak to their baby's nurse. You will be given a security code to prove you are the parent. Please do not give this code to anyone. When calling, please state your name, baby's first and last name and security code. Telephone information is given to parents only. If you are on hold for more than a few minutes, please hang up and call back.

NICU Phone numbers:
(315) 470-7577 for Rooms A, B & C
(315) 470-7620 Rooms D, E, F & G

 Parent’s Visiting Guide

When your child is in NICU, the role you play in his or her young life has an amazing impact on the development process. One of the best ways to parent during this time is to visit often. The bond you’ll establish with your child will last a lifetime.

When speaking to your baby:

  • Speak in a soft, calm voice

When touching your baby:

  • Use a firm but gentle touch, not a light tickle touch.

When holding your baby:

  • When your infant is ready, skin-to-skin care is available to parents who wish to hold their baby against their chest. This is called “kangarooing” and helps put your baby’s breathing and respiration in sync with your heartbeat. This may be done by either of the baby’s parents — female and male.
  • You may not be able to hold your infant immediately, but we still encourage you to speak to and touch your baby, as this provides a soothing atmosphere. The NICU nurses will tell you that your baby will begin to recognize and respond to the sound of your voice.

Our developmental specialists and nurses will gladly help you to be more involved in your infant’s care. Just ask.

Infant Feeding

Many parents are surprised by the number of tubes and IVs they see in the NICU. Many of these are used for feeding when our fragile patients cannot be fed in the same way as other newborns. Please do not be alarmed if you see intravenous (IV) tubes connected to your child. IV therapy provides nourishing fluids through a short, fine catheter or tube that rests in a vein on the surface of the infant’s arm, leg or scalp. This is often the best way to provide the nutrition and medications necessary to promote growth and development.

Occasionally some infants, especially premature babies, require IV therapy for a longer period of time. If this is the case, your infant’s doctor will discuss placement of a special IV known as a PICC line. This kind of feeding can only be administered by the NICU staff. However, when your newborn is ready to be fed by mouth, your baby’s doctor and nurses will discuss with you the best method of breast or bottle feeding.


Please let your baby’s physician and NICU staff know if you plan to breast feed. Even if your baby is not yet being breast fed or bottle fed, it is still important to start collecting your breast milk and to educate yourself about this method. Our lactation consultants can be reached at 315/470-7179 and breastfeeding instructions are available for your assistance.   

Storage of Breast Milk

Breast milk can be stored in a clean, closable container. Plastic baby bottles are provided by the NICU staff and labels for the containers are located at the main desk. Milk can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 24 hours, in a freezer for up to one month and in a deep freeze (zero degrees Fahrenheit) for six months. All breast milk brought to the hospital for your infant should be frozen and labeled with your name, your infant’s name, the date and time of collection, and the date you brought the milk to the hospital.

Transporting Breast Milk

The best way to transport frozen breast milk is in a cooler with ice. It should stay frozen for the entire length of time it takes you to get to the hospital (otherwise it will have to be discarded).


There are a number of great online resources that may be helpful during your baby’s stay in the Crouse NICU. It is important to remember that the information on these web pages is general, and may not be specific to your child's illness. Although these sites are updated and checked for accuracy, the information on forum/message boards or chat rooms is not checked and is meant to be used for support purposes only. We encourage you to discuss the information you learn from these sites with your care team. 


General Information

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital


March of Dimes
American Academy of Pediatrics

Kids Health
Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
National Institute of Child Health and Development, SIDS
Peek a boo ICU
Eli’s Hope
Graham’s Foundation
Hand to Hold
Parent Preemie Alliance
Preemie World, LLC


Cardiac Information:

American Heart Association

Congenital Heart Information Network

Downs Syndrome Information:

Downs Syndrome Association of CNY

National Association for Down Syndrome

Breastfeeding Websites

Hearing Screening
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Postpartum Depression


Other Information:

CHARGE Syndrome

Cleft Lip and Palate Resource

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa


Potter's Syndrome

VATER, Esophageal Atresia and/or Traceoesophageal Fistula

Newborn Intensive Care: What Every Parent Needs to Know, 3rd Ed. (2010), by Jeanette Zaichkin.
Preemies: The essential guide for parents of premature babies, 2nd ed. (2010), by Dana Wechsler Linden, Mia Wechsler Doron, and Emma Trenti Paroli.
The Preemie Primer: A Complete Guide for Parents of Premature Babies-From Birth Through the Toddler Years and Beyond (2010) by Jennifer Gunter.