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Your Baby’s Care Team in the NICU

While in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), your baby is cared for by a team of experts. Get to know the members of your child’s care team and ask them any questions you have.

Who Will Care for My Baby?

Nurses are responsible for the daily care of your baby. They will feed, change, and bathe your baby; give medicines; keep track of vital signs (like temperature, breathing, and heart rate); and monitor medical equipment.

Nurses you may meet include the:

  • charge nurse: the nurse in charge of the shift
  • primary nurse: the one who is assigned to your baby
  • neonatal

    nurse practitioner
    : a nurse with extra training to care for newborns

Others who may care for your baby:

  • a neonatologist: a doctor who focuses (specializes) on newborn intensive care
  • other specialists: doctors like a neurologist (who specializes in problems of the brain and nerves), a cardiologist (who specializes in problems of the heart), or surgeon (who treats problems that need surgery)
  • fellows, medical residents, and medical students: doctors-in-training at different levels of study
  • a respiratory therapist: a therapist who gives treatments that help with breathing
  • a speech-language pathologist: a therapist who helps babies with feeding or swallowing problems
  • a lactation consultant: a nurse or other member of the care team who helps mothers breastfeed their babies or supply breast milk to their babies
  • a dietitian: an expert who helps provide the right nutrition for babies with medical needs
  • a physical therapist (PT) and/or occupational therapist (OT): therapists who help babies with fine motor or gross motor skills
  • a pharmacist: an expert who works with doctors to give medicines
  • lab technicians: a person who runs lab tests (like blood tests)
  • a chaplain: a spiritual or religious leader who can counsel you and give comfort. Chaplains can help anyone looking for support, no matter their religious background.
  • a social worker: a person who helps you get the support and services you need

How Does the Care Team Help?

Your baby’s care team is there to make sure your baby gets the best start in life. The team is also there to support you and your family.

While in the hospital, reach out with any questions you have, and learn all you can about your baby’s health and daily care. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to care for your baby when it’s time to go home.