Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit NICU

The Children's National Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

If you have a sick or premature infant, you want and need the absolute best care possible. That is why at Children’s National, our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a Level IV NICU—one of a few in the region.

U.S. News & World Report ranks our neonatology program fourth in the country–the only top 10 ranked program in DC, Maryland, or Virginia. We treat more than 800 babies every year.

As a Level IV NICU, we offer the highest level of care for premature and ill newborns, as designated by The American Academy of Pediatrics. This means we can:

  • Offer the full range of pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical subspecialists and pediatric anesthesiologists on site
  • Perform complex surgical procedures to repair complex congenital or acquired conditions
  • Arrange for babies to come to the NICU and provide education for parents and families

Take a photo tour of our NICU

Specialists from every possible pediatric subspecialty

Your baby will receive the focus and attention of a team of the best specialists, from more than 40 pediatric subspecialties, available around the clock. Because we only treat children and infants, our care team includes leading physicians in every major pediatric surgical and medical subspecialty—like neurology and others—right here on our main campus.

That way if your baby needs a specialized type of care, our team can consult immediately, 24/7, with an expert colleague they know and trust. Meet our team

Additionally, your baby will receive around-the-clock expert care from our specially trained intensive care nurses. Our nurses understand that a NICU stay is a difficult time for families and will involve you as much as possible in the care of your fragile newborn. Our NICU nurses maintain multiple certifications, including some certified lactation specialists, are nationally recognized, and have received Magnet(TM) designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. 

Complex surgical procedures

The team at Children’s National includes many of the nation’s most respected pediatric surgeons. If your baby needs surgery, our experts are on-site and available. Our expertise includes:

  • Sophisticated technology to protect your baby’s growing brain and monitor infants during surgery
  • Complex corrective gastrointestinal (GI) surgeries. 
  • Learn more about pediatric surgery

Transport to the NICU

Staffed 24/7 by full-time, specially trained NICU nurses and respiratory therapists, Children's National has the region's only dedicated neonatal transport team. Our medical ground ambulance and Sky Bear helicopter are specially designed for newborns. We safely transport more than 1,000 babies every year to our main campus NICU or regional NICUs. Learn more about the Neonatal Transport Program. 

Caring For Your Family

We know that your family is a core part of your baby’s recovery and healing. That is why we offer unique programs and services, like:

  • Daily participation in rounds with the team of doctors and nurses caring for your baby
  • Private rooms with comfortable rockers where we teach you to rock your child safely and comfortably, when you are both ready
  • Breastfeeding support and a donor milk program
  • Child development specialists who will evaluate and design therapies to help your baby, when ready
  • Social workers, chaplains and Child Life Specialists who can help different members of your family, including your infant’s siblings

Your baby is our focus, but the emotional and physical health of your entire family is our goal. Learn more about our specialized programs or visit our Resources for Families, where you will find information about what to expect while in the NICU, feeding and bonding resources and a list of supportive services we offer.

An Environment Designed for Babies and Families

We designed our NICU with input from parents and families like you, who have had a child in NICU care. From the comfortable, soundproof flooring and indirect lighting, to the large private patient rooms with comfortable rockers, our NICU is a soothing and secure environment for you and your child.

Transitioning to Home

Our goal is to get your baby home with you as soon as is safely possible. Bringing home a tiny baby for the first time after a serious illness can be concerning for many parents. That’s why we offer Parent Transition Rooms, a hotel-like room that allows parents to “practice” being at home with their child—with the reassurance of the NICU staff nearby.

Our care doesn’t stop when you leave. Our Child Development Program evaluates NICU graduates to ensure they are developing appropriately.

Matthew R.'s Story

"It is overwhelming for any parent with children of any age to have to experience something like this. Now that I am and have gone through the experience I cannot thank Children's National enough for its kindness, professionalism, and knowledge."

Read More of Matthew R.'s Story

Children's National in Your Neighborhood

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Did you know Children’s National has more than 50 locations throughout the region? Find one that’s convenient for your family.

Find a Children's Location Near You