Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The NICU is a special place where we take care of babies and their parents. We’re ready to help you and your baby through this difficult time.

Our 52-bed Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is the only one of its kind in the Finger Lakes Region. It’s a highly specialized, nationally recognized center providing the highest level of care available for sick or premature newborns (Level IIlD), including advanced treatment for respiratory failure and heart disease.

Every year, we care for more than 1200 newborns in our NICU. Most newborns admitted to our NICU are born at Strong Memorial Hospital as part of our Regional Perinatal Center high risk obstetrical service. However, about 250 newborns are transferred to us annually, nearly all by our Neonatal Transport Team.

What to Expect

The NICU is just steps away from the Strong Beginnings Birth Center and directly across the hall from the labor and delivery area for high risk pregnancies. If a newborn needs immediate emergency care, it’s available in the high risk center’s two-bed stabilization room from a team of doctors, a respiratory therapist and specially trained neonatal nurses. Once stabilized, newborns are transferred to the NICU in a special isolette that’s equipped as a self-contained “mini-NICU.”

The NICU has been designed and staffed to provide superior medical and developmental care for our newborns and communication and support for parents.

  • All blood gas and electrolyte tests are done in our on-site NICU lab by staff who are involved in your newborn’s care. That means results are available quickly.
  • We can choose the bed, warmer, incubator or crib that is just right for your baby. Our six Omnibeds (also called Giraffe beds because of the way they open) can be used as incubators and warmers so our more fragile babies don’t have to be moved between the two. Babies can even be weighed on a built-in scale.
  • Bedside digital x-rays, ultrasounds, EEGs, and pulmonary function tests reduce stress for our babies and speed response times. The images and tracings are available online to doctors in other parts of the hospital or from home.
  • Because acutely premature and sick newborns can be hypersensitive to the environment outside the womb, we work to provide a secure and soothing atmosphere to minimize stress and help your baby to cope better and grow faster.
    • Lights are subdued and bedside activity is minimized during “infant quiet times” from 1-6 a.m.; 10 – 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
    • Special design techniques have been used to reduce noise levels overall and two “pods” have been specially developed to provide a soothing environment for the most sensitive infants.
    • We support kangaroo care—skin-to-skin contact between parent and child—to help calm your baby and improve his or her sleeping patterns when he or she is stable enough and can tolerate being touched.
  • Laptop computers allow doctors to review notes and tests, compare them to gauge your baby’s progress and share them with you right at your baby’s bedside.
  • A private family room is a convenient location for you to conference with your baby’s team. Three breastfeeding/nesting rooms provide for privacy in feeding or breast pumping in a quiet environment.
  • In addition to the full complement of doctors, physicians assistants and nurses, our NICU is fortunate to have respiratory therapists, nutritionists, lactation consultants, a child life developmental expert and social workers, all of whom are wholly dedicated to the unit.
  • All members of your baby’s team are especially attuned to meeting his or her special emotional, behavioral and developmental needs. The object is to help your baby continue the normal brain development that occurs prior to birth in the most natural way possible. By paying close attention to your baby’s “signals” we can help your newborn develop new abilities, maximize comfort and ensure proper bonding with you.
  • Two Ronald McDonald Houses, one within the hospital, are available to accommodate parents of our most critically ill infants.
  • A special discharge team meets frequently to discuss each baby’s needs while they’re with us and at the time of discharge (discharge planning). Various members of our team will help you with all the details, including transport to a hospital near you if your baby isn’t ready to go home, follow-up appointments, insurance, home care help, special equipment for your home and information on how to handle virtually all eventualities.

Back to the Neonatology Home Page

Parents are key members of the NICU team. Our goal is to involve you as fully as possible in your newborn’s journey. We hope the following information will help.

Visitation Policy

Calling the NICU

Who’s Who and What They Do

Vocabulary of the NICU

Tests and Procedures

Feeding Your Baby

Holding Your Baby

Toys and Clothing for Your Baby

Leaving the NICU


Getting information

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