Information for Parents

Premature Babies (Great Site!):

Premature Babies (AAP)

Questions and explanations about different diseases in the NICU:

March of Dimes Website:

Books for Parents:  

Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding can make a huge impact for you and your baby who is in the NICU.  For example preterm infants are at risk for special infections of their intestines called necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC for short, that some babies can die from, and breastmilk reduces this significantly.   The NICU staff can talk to you more about all the benefits. Even if for a few weeks or while in baby is in the hospital can make help your baby tremendously and potentially lead to the most benefit by giving breastmilk to your child for 6 to 12 months. Two good sites are listed below.

28 Weeks

During your baby’s stay in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, a team will work closely with your baby. Included in this team are nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, occupational and physical therapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, infant educators, social workers, chaplain, and YOU, the most important member of the Health Care Team! We welcome your suggestions and ideas about the care of your baby. Our goal is to make sure you are well informed and feel like a partner in the care of your baby in the NICU.

28 WeeksParenting in the NICU Before your child was born, you probably did not expect your baby to arrive early or with medical problems. Having a premature or sick newborn can be a shock to families. You may feel helpless and powerless to help your baby. You may feel scared, depressed, guilty, worried, exhausted, stressed-out, and a lot of other things.


28 WeeksYou may have urgent questions:
Will my baby survive?
What is really wrong with my baby?
Will my baby grow up normally?
How will all this care be paid for?
How can I be both with my baby in the hospital and with my other children?
What about all of my other responsibilities?

Almost all parents who have had an infant in the NICU have expressed these thoughts and feelings. We encourage you to talk about these feelings with someone. The NICU staff will be available to help you. Small or sick babies are easily stressed. We know some ways to make babies more calm or comfortable. Your baby will like certain kinds of touching and holding. Ask your nurse to share this information with you. You can continue to learn about your infant’s special personality while they are very small or sick in the NICU. Babies can continue to learn about their very special relationship with their parents, too. Often parent’s enjoy taking pictures and videos of their infant, bringing booties, blankets, clothes, and even family photographs and toys for their baby. Your baby knows you by your smell and the sound of your voice. Babies need your love and your personal touch. Your visits are very important. As your infant’s condition stabilizes he/she may be transferred to a different bed spot in the NICU, sent to the transitional nursery or transferred back to the referring hospital.

Protection of Privacy and Confidentiality:
Since you may not be able to always be with your infant while in the NICU we have developed the following guidelines to protect your family’s and baby’s privacy and uphold confidentiality. As your baby’s parents and/or guardians you will be given your baby’s UVA medical history number that you will use when calling and visiting. We also ask that parents and/or guardians carry some form of identification with them when visiting.


"The Principles for Family Centered Neonatal Care" written by nurse and preemie parent Helen Harrison.

The NICU is moving into a renovation project. Included in the plans is a Parent Resource Center, which will include computers available to parents. In the meantime we are constantly updating a list of computer resources including addresses of useful online services. If you want assistance in tracking down NICU related information on the computer we can provide you with a list of resources at your request.

More Resources