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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Infant in an incubator in the NICU, with a parent's hand resting atop its head.

Best Care for Babies

U.S. News & World Report ranks our Neonatology program #1 in the country.

If you have a sick or premature infant, you want and need the absolute best care possible. U.S. News & World Report has ranked our neonatology program just that - number one in the country.

At Children’s National, our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a Level IV NICU.  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

Learn more about the different levels of NICU care.

What to Expect in Our NICU

Take a peek into the NICU at Children's National with Dr. Billie Short.

What to Expect in Our NICU

  • Experts from Every Specialty
  • Specially Trained Nursing Staff
  • An Environment Designed for Babies and Families
  • Care for Your Whole Family
  • Help with Your Transition to Home

Experts from Every Specialty

Your baby will receive the focus and attention of a team of the best specialists. 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.

Specially Trained Nursing Staff

The nurses who provide around-the-clock care for your baby are also specially trained in infant intensive care. Our NICU nurses maintain multiple certifications, including many certified lactation specialists, are nationally recognized, and have received Magnet(TM) designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

An Environment Designed for Babies and Families

You can be with your baby anytime. 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. View more photos of the NICU.

Caring For Your Whole 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 care for your child safely and comfortably, when you are both ready
  • 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.

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.

Megan Bellagamba's Story

Megan Bellagamba

Megan Bellagamba was inspired to become a nurse after her twin nieces were born prematurely and she saw the great care they received during their early days in the NICU. She saves lives at the hospital and during her personal time as fellow patron at a restaurant in Virginia, Pam Weil, recounts.

Megan Bellagamba's Story