Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Our Facility  |  Nursery Guidelines  |  Bonding  |  Visiting Hours |  Our Staff

Welcome to The Hospital of Central Connecticut's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, part of the Ferdinand Sauer, MD Family BirthPlace. We provide advanced care for babies who are born prematurely or full-term newborns requiring advanced care.

Special Care Nursery

Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is staffed by a multidisciplinary Care Team that includes board-certified neonatologists (pediatricians specializing in the care of premature and sick newborns); certified pediatric physician assistants; and neonatal nurses. Additional Care Team members also provide and support care for you and your baby as needed.

When a baby has spent a period of time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and is ready to go home, parents can spend a night or two in a transition room, next to the NICU, receiving instruction and getting familiar with their child’s needs. 

Pediatric Care Alliance logo

Pediatric Care Alliance

The Pediatric Care Alliance is a partnership between Connecticut Children’s and Hartford HealthCare. Our two health systems have a history of collaboration, from newborn care to care for chronic illnesses and adult congenital heart disease. Now we’re taking it further, helping families navigate the healthcare journey every step of the way, from birth to young adulthood.

Whatever care or support your family needs, the experts at Connecticut Children’s and Hartford HealthCare can provide it. This includes an array of health, social and emotional support programs across both health systems. The team includes neonatologists, pediatric care specialists and neonatal nurse practitioners, ready to provide the care your baby needs.

Connecticut Children's flagship neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Hartford Hospital is already a hub for newborn care throughout the region. Connecticut Children’s NICU is named one of the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report, staffed by a nationally-ranked nursing team, and lead important research.

Our Facility

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is designed to provide a quiet, restful environment for newborns, while allowing staff to deliver advanced care with the latest technology. We work with parents to provide an individualized plan of care to meet each baby’s unique needs.

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Developmentally Supportive Care
All babies use special "body language" or signals to communicate. Babies born prematurely or with medical problems communicate in their own special ways. NICU staff members are trained to help you learn to read your infant's signals so you can determine when your baby is ready for interaction, or how to help your baby when he or she is stressed or over-stimulated.

Other Developmentally Supportive Care Strategies Include:

  • Scheduled quiet times to ensure periods of undisturbed rest for your baby.
  • Lighting – The NICU is equipped with skylights that let in natural light. We also utilize a cycling of light to enhance proper day/night rhythm in babies and an individual light level for each baby that is appropriate for that infant's level of maturity. For example, very small infants may need to spend much of their time in a darkened environment that more closely mimics the mother's womb.
  • Sound – The NICU has quiet equipment and an acoustically optimized nursing station to keep noise levels down.
  • Nesting – Soft bumpers or blanket rolls are placed around the baby to provide containment and security.
  • Clustered care – Staff try to perform all tests or procedures at a time that minimizes disruption and stress for the newborn.

Pain Management
Our comprehensive pain management program for babies includes a variety of methods for infants requiring special treatments. We do everything possible to minimize discomfort to your baby.

Transition Rooms
Once your baby is stable, parents and family members may use special transition rooms when visiting with the baby. The rooms are also available for parents to stay overnight with their baby in preparation for discharge. You may receive special instructions on caring for your baby during these stays – designed to increase your comfort level with your baby before going home.

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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Guidelines

Parents are encouraged to visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and may do so 24 hours a day. We suggest the following guidelines for you and loved ones who want to visit with you and your baby:

  • To protect confidentiality, we can only give information about the baby to the baby's parents.
  • To ensure babies get the rest they need, we ask that no more than three people at a time be at the baby's bedside, and one should be a parent.
  • Newborns are particularly susceptible to infection. Staff will show parents and visitors how to clean their hands to protect the baby from infection. The nurse caring for your baby will advise you of any additional precautions. Please do not allow anyone to visit who has a cold, cough, skin rash, diarrhea or has been exposed to contagious diseases such as chicken pox, strep throat or flu.
  • Parking is available in the Quigley Garage, next to the New Britain Campus main lobby. Parking validation is available for parents of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit babies.

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We encourage parents to spend as much time with their newborns as possible. Most babies can be held, even with special equipment. You will be able to touch your baby while he or she is in an isolette. Softly talking, singing or reading to your baby can be soothing to both parent and newborn.

Staff can teach you bonding techniques like “kangaroo care,” in which the baby is placed on your bare chest for skin-to-skin contact.

One of the most difficult experiences for parents of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit babies is having your baby hospitalized after you go home. It’s important to remember that you are a vital partner in helping your baby receive the best and most advanced care possible. 

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Visiting Hours *

Parents – Anytime.

Parent with visitor (14 years or older) – Noon-8 p.m.

Siblings aged 2-13 years – By arrangement with neonatology staff.

* In the NICU, maximum is 3 visitors per baby (one designated caregiver with a hospital ID band may be accompanied by 2 additional visitors).

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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Staff

Many people work together to care for your baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Neonatologists (pediatric sub-specialists in neonatal intensive care) - Available 24 hours a day to provide and direct your baby's care in the NICU.

Physician Assistants - Certified pediatric P.A.s work with neonatologists. They are available 24 hours a day for routine and emergency care.

Neonatal Nurses - Organize and provide ongoing, daily care, as well as teaching and support for parents. Nursing technicians and secretaries help the nurse provide care and support services.

Social WorkerThe Family BirthPlace social worker and care coordinators arrange for discharge support services for babies and their parents.

Lactation Consultants - Board certified lactation consultants are available to offer breastfeeding support to parents and their babies.

Depending on families' needs, the social worker may:

  • Ensure parents receive counseling to help them deal with the stress and uncertainty associated with having a newborn in the NICU;
  • Connect you with community resources that can help you and your family

Care Coordinators may:

  • Arrange for special home equipment and home care;
  • Work with insurance companies and other coverage providers 

Other professionals helping to care for NICU newborns include pharmacists, respiratory therapists, registered dietitians, social service staff, and occupational therapists.

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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Patient Support

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