There are many things to know about when your baby is being admitted to the NICU at Arkansas Children's. Some of those things are:

  • A member of the transport team will call you when your child arrives at Arkansas Children's Hospital.
  • When your baby arrives, the team will examine your baby and place them on a vital sign monitor.
  • Monitors are used to watch your baby's heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and oxygen level. Sometimes a machine will help your baby breath or give your baby nutrition in the form of intravenous (IV) fluids.
  • There is a Neonatologist (doctor who specializes in caring for sick babies), a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and a resident in the hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to care for your baby.
  • The NICU is divided into color zones. For example, the Red Zone is for the most ill, the youngest and the smallest infants requiring close monitoring. As the baby gets better the baby will move to a different zone.
  • There are 6 Zones (Red, Blue, Purple, Yellow, Orange, and Green), spread out in 9 different Pods and Private Rooms.
  • The Green Zone or “South” is the area of the NICU with private rooms which are used primarily to help the parents’ transition to taking care of the baby independently in anticipation of discharge home.
  • The babies are placed in an area of the NICU depending upon his/her age, severity of illness and needs.
  • Your baby may move bed spaces several times during his/her stay in the NICU in order to provide the best care possible for your infant as his/her needs change.
  • Your baby's health and the type of medical devices monitoring him/her determine whether your baby can be held.
  • Your baby is ready to interact with you from your very first visit; it just might not be how you might expect.
  • Booklets at each bedside explain what interaction your baby is ready for at every stage of his/her development.
  • Your baby's nurse can help you identify ways to appropriately interact with your baby.

Things to remember when handling your baby include:

  • Very sick babies are sometimes over stimulated by even minimal handling and noise.
  • Premature babies have nervous systems that are not developed and stroking or rubbing may be painful rather than soothing.
  • Your nurse will show you how to touch your baby by containing and providing a feeling of security.
  • In the times that your infant's behavior shows that touch needs to be limited; your presence is still supportive. Your baby will know your voice and smell.
  • Learn how to help your baby's health by breastfeeding.

Watch a tour of the NICU

Learn what to expect in the Arkansas Children's Hospital NICU

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