Neonatal Intensive Care
Critical Care

Children’s Hospital New Orleans NICU

Level 4 Regional Neonatal Intensive Care UnitNurse holding a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

The Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a designated Level 4 Facility providing the highest level of care within the state of Louisiana. The unit has 36 critical care beds for newborns and provides care for sick infants with problems resulting from prematurity, birth defects or acquired conditions. The NICU is a state-of-the-art, 11,000-square-foot facility with 24-hour air and ground transport available for the sickest babies. The NICU has private and semi-private rooms available and has expanded to more than five times its original size since opening in 1988.

The care team

All infants are under the care of the neonatologists with help from the largest team of pediatric specialists in the state of Louisiana, if needed. A broad range of medical specialists and allied health providers are available. Highly-specialized therapies are provided, including:

  • Conventional mechanical ventilation
  • High frequency ventilation
  • Inhaled nitric oxide therapy
  • Peritoneal and hemodialysis
  • ECMO (heart/lung bypass)
  • Therapeutic hypothermia

Social workers and case managers are on staff to assist families. The neonatologists help train the largest group of future neonatologists and pediatricians in Louisiana. Neonatology fellows and pediatric residents, in addition to specialized neonatal nurse practitioners, are included in the patient care team.

VisitationNeonatal Intensive Care Unit Room

Parents are encouraged to visit as often as they are able. Sibling visitation is permitted when pre-arranged with the nurse or doctor. Siblings must be at least 4 years of age to enter the NICU, except during RSV season, when the age increases to 12 years. Children and adults must avoid visiting if they are ill (i.e. diarrhea, colds, fever, cough or have cold sores, pink eye or impetigo [Indian Fire]). Also, if you have been exposed to or have had any infectious diseases such as chicken pox, measles or mumps within the past three weeks, please inform the NICU staff immediately.

Visitors must call and speak with the patient’s nurse before entering the unit. A phone is provided in the waiting area. Cell phones are not allowed in the NICU. There are occasional situations in the NICU when no visitors are allowed. Only 3 visitors are permitted at the bedside at one time. Visitation is allowed 24 hours a day except during change of shift: 7-8 am and 7-8 pm We ask that you leave the unit, and also refrain from calling during these times. Visitors may also be asked to leave the unit at the doctor or charge nurse’s discretion.

Please understand that each baby is special and information is confidential. We ask that you visit with your baby only. Information regarding other patients cannot be discussed.

Taking photos and videos of the babies is encouraged to promote bonding with siblings/family members who are unable to visit. Live-streaming bedside cameras are also available 24 hours a day so parents and family members can view their baby through a password-protected website. Breastfeeding is always encouraged, and lactation support is available to help nursing mothers provide milk for their infants.

Phone calls

Parents may call the NICU 24 hours a day at 504.896.9418, except during shift changes (7-8 am and 7-8 pm). We will give information to parents and legal guardians only. Extended family members and friends wanting information about an infant should communicate with parents for updates. Parents will be provided a unique security pass code, which is required to receive any information over the phone.


Only one person will be allowed to sleep at the patient’s bedside overnight, if the infant’s condition allows. If space allows, a second person will be allowed to stay in the NICU waiting area.