NewYork-Presbyterian’s neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are among the most highly regarded in the country. Located at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women & Newborns, our Level IV NICUs care for close to 2,000 critically ill infants each year. We treat babies with low birth weight, respiratory distress, gastrointestinal disorders, congenital abnormalities, and other conditions that may require surgery. Our NICUs also care for babies who were born premature or who need help transitioning from fetal to newborn life.
What are Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs)?
Neonatal Intensive Care Units, or NICUs, are areas of the hospital dedicated to the care of critical-needs newborns.
Babies in the NICU are often placed in incubators to keep them warm. Some infants might require help with breathing through specialized technology, while others may require an IV line to receive medications and fluids. Newborns who may be admitted into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit include:
- Babies born prematurely (before 37 weeks)
- Babies born with low birth weight
- Babies born smaller than expected for gestational age
- Babies with suspected or proven infection
- Babies with breathing difficulty, including fast breathing or grunting
- Babies with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Babies with congenital conditions that require additional monitoring or treatment
- Babies who need help in the transition from fetal to newborn life
There are multiple levels to NICUs. Each level is designed to treat a baby's needs. The NICU levels are organized as follows:
- Level I: This level is designated for healthy full-term babies without special needs or requirements
- Level II: This level is reserved for newborns born near full-term, around 32 weeks, but may have additional health needs
- Level III: This level is reserved for at-risk babies who are not only born early at less than 32 weeks but also may experience critical health issues
- Level IV: These newborns may have various complex health needs and require around-the-clock care
Our NICU Services
Our NICUs have been recognized for excellence in several areas, including:
Gentle respiratory care
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recognized NewYork-Presbyterian for excellence in treating respiratory disorders in newborns, highlighting our extremely low incidence of chronic lung disease.
Advanced neonatal cardio-respiratory support
NewYork-Presbyterian was among the first centers in the country to offer extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy for infants with severe respiratory failure who cannot be treated successfully with conventional therapies. Today, NewYork-Presbyterian is one of a few facilities in the tri-state area to offer ECMO, an artificial heart and lung system that supports oxygenation of the body until a baby's lungs can function on their own. We have the largest ECMO program in the tri-state area and have among the best survival rates nationally and internationally. We are one of only a few worldwide centers to be awarded Platinum Level Center of Excellence from Extracorporeal Life Support Organization.
Neonatal cardiac intensive care
NewYork-Presbyterian's pediatric heart surgeons are widely recognized for their expertise in newborn heart surgery. The team operates out of the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Infant Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, a 17-bed, state-of-the-art unit dedicated solely to the care of neonates born with congenital heart defects. These same surgeons also operate at Weill Cornell Medical Center, and newborn patients recover at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky's Children's Hospital.
Our NICU is the first-of-its-kind and the only unit in the country specialized, multi-disciplinary care is provided to neonates with congenital heart disease.
Our neonatologists and pediatric neurologists apply the latest neurological advances to support newborn brain health. This includes electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring to access brain function and near-infrared spectroscopy to assess brain perfusion. Hypothermia treatment may also be used to lower the baby's brain and body temperature to help reduce the risk of brain injury.
Neonatal nutritional support
At NewYork-Presbyterian, the neonatal nutritionists provide recommendations to optimize your child's growth and development. Specialized nutrition services for infants and toddlers are provided during your infant's hospitalization in the NICU and later through our Neonatal Follow-up Programs.
Lactation consultants are available to help mothers learn skills to establish and maintain the milk supply and help them overcome obstacles to breastfeeding. Our neonatal dietitians counsel parents on providing a balanced diet for their children.
Neonatal comfort care program
When an infant is affected by a life-limiting condition or a terminal illness, we offer a Neonatal Comfort Care Program. We recognize that, no matter how brief, every baby's life is precious, and the comfort of the baby is at the center of our care. The team works with you to develop a plan for your baby's delivery and postnatal care. Ongoing support is offered after you leave the hospital.
We encourage parents to practice "skin-to-skin" care, which helps parents to bond with their babies. Your nurse can help you learn this technique.
Child life specialists are accredited professionals who apply their child development expertise to help children understand, cope with and master their medical experiences. In the NICU, child life specialists and music therapists are available to help you bond with your child. We also have a virtual telepresence program (virtual NICU) so that you can stay virtually connected to your baby when you cannot be at their bedside.
When your baby is admitted to the NICU, you will be connected with a social worker to help you cope. They may also assist with transportation and insurance and empower you to be an advocate for your child. We also have a supportive NICU psychologist at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and the Infant Psychiatry Fellow at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns. Our March of Dimes Family Support Program Coordinators also have a wealth of resources available to you.
Critically ill newborn transfers
Our 24/7 transport service can arrange for the transfer of critically ill newborns to our NICUs from referring hospitals via specially staffed and equipped vehicles. Doctors can arrange for the transport of an infant to the NICU by calling 1-800-NYP-STAT (1-800-697-7828).
Our Approach to Care
The 70-bed NICU at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and the 60-bed private, single-family NICU rooms at NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women & Newborns are staffed by expert teams. These include neonatologists, neonatal nurses, nurse practitioners, and other specialists. Pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists are readily available for consultation and treatment.
In addition to the expert medical team, our hospitals are also staffed with a team of supporting specialists. Examples are lactation consultants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, feeding specialists, nutritionists, respiratory therapists, clinical pharmacists, child life specialists, and many more. In addition, family support is available from dedicated social workers, care managers, and NICU psychologists.
Families are part of our team
We encourage you to be involved in the care of your infant from the very beginning. Although we are high-tech and able to respond to your child's most critical medical needs, we never forget that we care for your newborn baby.
We recognize that you are the most important member of your baby's care team, and we welcome your presence and input while your child is with us in the NICU. Our March of Dimes Family Support Program Coordinators can connect you with resources that might be helpful during your family's NICU journey. We also partner closely with former NICU parents from the Family Advisory Council to ensure that we are providing the best family-centered care. Parent orientation, support groups, and peer mentor programs are also available.
Why Choose Us
At NewYork-Presbyterian, our neonatologists have the expertise to care for premature infants, infants at risk for neurologic injury, and infants with conditions such as pulmonary hypertension or chronic lung disease, cardiac anomalies, birth defects, and genetic disorders, employing the latest approaches and technologies that improve the outcomes of the sickest and most fragile infants.
Innovative approaches and lifesaving treatments
NewYork-Presbyterian is nationally recognized for optimizing the health of newborns and minimizing risk in the tiniest, most fragile newborns with our innovative approaches and lifesaving treatments. We have one of the best infant survival rates among NICUs nationally, and the lowest rates of chronic lung disease in the U.S. The National Institutes of Health recognize us for excellence and expertise in the gentle ventilation of neonates, the standard of care in early, acute lung disease in extremely preterm infants.
Our devotion to your newborn continues long after discharge, with comprehensive neonatal and nutritional follow-up programs to promote your newborn's growth and development.
The latest technologies in newborn patient safety
At NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns, cutting-edge technology helps our team of specialists stay connected through the hospital’s various communication platforms, providing extra layers of protection for each patient.
The system — NICU clinical integration systems technology — was created to facilitate seamless collaboration between members of the entire NICU team, including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, and respiratory therapists.
Excellence in NICU nursing
NewYork-Presbyterian's Magnet® Recognition NICU nurses are experienced and exceptionally well-trained. Not only do they care for the tiniest of infants, but they also provide care, support, and education to parents. NICU nurses require highly specialized skills in the assessment and care of newborns and sick infants and are trained in a wide range of medical, technological, and surgical interventions.
Leaders in the field
Our physicians have pioneered many of the techniques widely used in neonatal medicine today, including gentle respiratory care for newborns and neonatal cardiac care for infants with congenital heart disease. They are conducting research in various areas. Some areas include neurodevelopment, vital sign monitoring, genetics, and immunology.
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Find Newborn Care Locations Near You
It's important to choose a NICU close to your home. For this reason, we have a number of locations conveniently located throughout the New York area. All locations provide the same quality care to be expected from NewYork-Presbyterian healthcare professionals.