We know that the NICU stay can be a very stressful time for you and your family. Our staff partners with you to provide the best possible care for your baby both during and after the NICU hospitalization. We combine our expertise in caring for critically ill newborns with a family-centered approach. We continually evaluate our NICU programs and practices to ensure high quality care. During the NICU stay you will meet many members of our team such as neonatologists, neonatal fellows, pediatric resident physicians, neonatal nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, dieticians, physical therapists, speech therapists, social workers, chaplains, child life specialists, cuddlers, unit clerks as well as pediatric subspecialists who may be involved in the care of your baby. We work together with you through communication and parent education to give your baby the best possible start in life.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNPs)
The nurses in the NICU are your baby’s primary care providers and are specially trained to manage neonatal care plans. They collaborate with your baby’s other providers and keep you informed about your baby’s development. They can also assist with breastfeeding if needed.
Good nutrition is an essential component of every baby's health, particularly those facing medical challenges. Our NICU teams include licensed and registered dieticians who work daily with your medical team to optimize your baby’s nutrition.
Social Workers/Case Managers
A clinical social worker is a professional counselor who helps you navigate personal or family-related challenges. Part of your NICU team, your social worker can help you coordinate services outside of the hospital before or after your baby goes home. They can also help you with insurance or financial problems, parenting, family conflicts and finding community resources.
Specially trained in respiratory care, NICU respiratory therapists help babies breathe, often when their lungs have not fully developed. They also care for infants with upper respiratory infections and lung-related conditions. Our respiratory therapists attend all high-risk deliveries and accompany babies that are transported within or to the hospital.
Lactation Consultants and Breastfeeding Peer Counselors
Breastmilk is especially beneficial for premature babies because it is easier to digest than formula and boosts immune systems. Our lactation consultants are available to help you breastfeed in the privacy of your NICU room. They can also teach you about pumping and provide the needed supplies, including a pump for you to use while in the hospital.
In addition to lactation consultants, Rush University Medical Center offers our Mothers' Milk Club which connects moms in the NICU with breastfeeding peer counselors. These counselors combine mom-to-mom support with extra knowledge and experience about lactation and breastfeeding.
Chaplains are spiritual care givers who support patients with spiritual and religious concerns. At Rush, we offer a Roman Catholic priest, a Muslim imam, a Jewish rabbi and other clergy representing a variety of Christian denominations. No matter the faith background, our chaplains serve everyone, helping people access their own spirituality or religious traditions to help with decision making or healing.
Physical therapists assess your baby’s physical needs, providing proper positioning and motion range to promote healthy physical development. Your physical therapist may recommend home exercise programs or refer you to an infant massage therapist who will teach you special techniques to improve your baby’s circulation, among other benefits.
Following your baby’s development is very important as they grow. Your baby’s developmental therapist will evaluate development, look for signs of stress and see if your baby has self-calming strategies. These therapists may also recommend interventions to encourage bonding and age appropriate progress.
Premature babies or babies born with certain medical conditions often have difficulty eating. A speech therapist (also called a speech pathologist) suggests techniques and positioning strategies for better feeding. They may also recommend custom feeding plans and teach you oral exercises to practice with your baby.
Palliative Care Medicine Specialists
Our palliative care program provides care to children with complex, chronic medical problems that are potentially life-limiting or life-threatening. We work to anticipate, prevent and relieve the physical, emotional and spiritual suffering of both patients and their families.