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Ask The Expert Neonatology Partner Content

Q&A: When Your Newborn Needs Specialized Care

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How your baby’s needs are met in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Dr. Rick Stafford, MD

Q: What happens if my newborn needs intensive care?

A: Rest assured that your baby will receive proper care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the place in a hospital dedicated to caring for sick newborns. Though neonatal refers to the first 28 days of life, some babies stay longer; extremely premature babies can stay several months.

Q: Do all hospitals have a NICU?

A: No. What’s more, it’s helpful for new parents to know that NICU’s are ranked by the level of care they provide.  The NICU at Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH) is a Level III, meaning our NICU is equipped to care for sick babies and their mothers. You see, we’re staffed with both OB/GYN physicians who specialize in complex maternal and obstetric conditions and pediatricians who specialize in the care of sick newborns.

Q: What can the Level III NICU at Northern Westchester Hospital offer my newborn?

A: First, I think you’ll feel comforted knowing that Level IIII is the highest-level NICU a community hospital such as ours can have, and that we are prepared to offer medically advanced care to you and your baby. I also think you’ll love our patient-centered NICU care, meaning that your baby is the most important person to us, just as he or she is to you.  Now let’s get a bit more specific. Our NICU offers many advanced respiratory therapies (for tiny undeveloped lungs), sophisticated ways to continuously monitor your baby’s progress, and advanced nutritional support. We can take care of extremely premature newborns born as early as 26 weeks and weighing as little as 1.5 lbs. We have a staff of highly trained NICU nurses (who have advanced certification in neonatal care) that care for your baby around the clock.

Q: Can I bond with my newborn in the NICU at NWH?

A: Every provider in our NICU works to keep your family involved in the care of your newborn. Mother-to-baby skin-to-skin contact happens as soon as possible. A mother can receive expert breastfeeding support from certified lactation consultants. (Breast milk is especially important for preemies, with powerful immune, gastrointestinal and neurological benefits.)  Mothers can almost always visit their babies 24/7. You’ll enjoy the complimentary room we typically provide to moms who are discharged from NWH before their baby can go home. And our AngelEye technology brings your family intimately close to your newborn at many times of the day and night — letting you see and hear your baby in the NICU through confidential live-streaming. 

Q: How else does NWH’s NICU support families?

A: Our doctors and nurses consider emotionally supporting parents whose newborn is in our NICU as important as our medical care, and we support you with skill and empathy. We can also help you connect with other families to provide each other support, encouragement and insight as you wait to take your baby home.


The care and safety of our community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is Northern Westchester Hospital’s top priority. We have put maximum safety measures in place to prevent exposure to the coronavirus for anyone who comes to the Hospital for emergent or scheduled care.


Dr. Rick Stafford, MD
Director of Neonatology
Northern Westchester Hospital


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