Your baby's routine in the NICU

Your baby's routine in the NICU

When your baby is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), you will become accustomed to some of our daily routines which include:

Daily interdisciplinary rounds in the NICU

Each morning Monday – Friday at 10:00 a.m., the neonatologist on call, nursing team, social worker, pharmacy, lab, child life specialist, lactation consultant and leadership visit each baby in the NICU and discuss the baby’s plan of care. This is called rounds. We encourage you and your partner to be a part of NICU rounds and ask any questions you may have. If you are unable to attend rounds, you can connect to the NICU staff via FaceTime or Skype through our NICU Connect Program.

Daily weights

All babies in the NICU are weighed once a day. We record each weight before the first feeding on the night nurse’s shift. In general, babies tend to lose five to seven per cent of their birth weight during their first five to seven days of life. After that, they tend to gain 10 to 20 grams a day.

Blood work

We will collect blood work on your baby to check status and decide what types of treatments are needed. Usually this is done by a lab technician or nurse but sometimes it might be done by a physician. Some babies require blood work every day. We will do our best to make sure all blood work is collected at one time.

Line changes

Your baby may require what we call ‘lines’ which are thin tubes inserted into your baby’s vein. For example, a total parenteral nutrition (TPN) line is used to provide your baby with nutrition. A peripherally-inserted central catheter (PICC) can be used to provide antibiotics, nutrition, medications or withdraw blood. We change these lines every day at 4 p.m. using sterile technique, and it takes about 15 to 20 minutes. You are welcome to wait in Ronald McDonald Room during this time, or simply wait on the other side of your baby’s curtain.