For Parents

With 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 read through this section. If you still have questions or concerns, please speak with one of the NICU nurses or contact us.

+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

+NICU Parent Support Group

Meetings are held weekly in the NICU Conference Room 9th Floor

Check with staff for day and time

This group is designed to support families who are experiencing the many emotions that come from having a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery. Parents have expressed to us that many of their extended families and friends do not understand what they are going through, however each of you, even though your baby’s are different, have some understanding of what the other is experiencing.

We have developed this support group for you to have a place to share your feelings, concerns and emotions. We are able to answer general NICU questions at the group meeting. Specific questions about your baby’s plan of care and diagnosis should be addressed with your baby’s Neonatologist/PA/NP.

If parents need more time to share, meeting times can be extended. The meetings are designed so that you can come for all or just a portion of the meeting.

This group is for parents, by parents. Any staff member present at the meeting is simply to help guide you in sharing your experiences and to direct you to the person(s) who might be better able to answer any questions or concerns you might have during your baby’s stay in the NICU.

Crouse Hospital and the Spirit of Women have generously provided a light meal for you during this group time. We hope you find this group beneficial. We will be offering some general educational support about the NICU and, as always, we are open to suggestions.

If you feel overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, or excessively worried, it is important to reach out for support. There are many support options. We strongly encourage you to discuss this with the Social Worker, your obstetrician, your baby’s nurse or doctor. They will see that you get connected with the appropriate help.

+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.

New York State passed Health Law Bill S1107 (effective May 1, 2009), the Breastfeeding Mothers Bill of Rights. At Crouse, we’re dedicated to helping you make the most informed decision about how to feed your new baby.

+Storage and Transportation 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.

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
La Leche League

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

Postpartum Depression
Postpartum Resource Center of New York
Office on Women’s Health
Center for Women’s Mental Health
PPD Moms

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.