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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

A Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a highly specialized center for premature and special needs newborns and infants. Everyone on our staff is dedicated to the health and well being of your baby.

To help newborns get healthy, out of the hospital system and into their homes with their parents sooner, techniques such as kangaroo care are employed (allowing skin-to-skin contact of a baby with its mother).

More than 400 studies since 1983 have confirmed that babies held skin to skin on their mother’s chest after birth do better in the following ways:

  • They cry less
  • Their heart rates stabilizes quicker
  • They stay warm
  • They sleep more
  • They have normal blood sugars
  • They lose less birth weight
  • They latch on and feed well
  • They gain weight faster
  • They have better brain development

Skin to Skin care is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Heart Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

These techniques have proven to decrease the length of the stay and to promote infant-mother bonding while encouraging the mother to breast-feed her child. 

A multi-disciplinary team approach is utilized to provide family friendly care.  Our neonatal transport team can be dispatched in less than 30 minutes (weather permitting) and travels by ambulance, helicopter or plane; as the need dictates.  Consultation with a neonatologist prior to delivery may be arranged on an out or inpatient basis.  Partnering with our colleagues in general and high risk obstetrics, Ochsner's neonatologists optimize the outcome of each pregnancy.


Ochsner NICU Locations

Ochsner Baptist Women's Pavilion

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Women's Pavilion at Ochsner Baptist carries a Level IV Regional designation – the highest level designation awarded by the state of Louisiana. Our 54 bed NICU is comprised of a combination of private rooms, twin rooms and semi private pods.  With three dedicated Care by Parent rooms, our families have the opportunity to spend some valuable time with their baby as they prepare for discharge. Webcam services allow families to have a continuous, secure view of their baby in the NICU that facilitates the bonding experience.

Our neonatal transport team can be dispatched in less than 30 minutes (weather permitting) and travels by ambulance, helicopter or plane; as need dictates. Partnering with our colleagues in obstetrics and perinatal medicine, Ochsner's Neonatologists optimize the outcome of each pregnancy – knowing that the NICU and its staff are available should the need arise.

The referral of a high-risk expectant mother allows time for family preparation and permits the mother and her infant to remain in close proximity after delivery. Our neonatal nurse discharge coordinator begins assessing the needs of each patient and family soon after birth in order to facilitate the transition from hospital to go as smoothly as possible.

The Unit also has long been commended for its innovative approach to caring for the sickest newborns. We continue to participate in original studies to devise new and better ways to help these children and their mothers.

Ochsner Medical Center - West Bank Campus

Ochsner Medical Center - West Bank's NICU is a 16-bed Level III unit located on the second floor adjacent to the Labor and Delivery unit.

Ochsner Medical Center - Baton Rouge

Ochsner Medical Center - Baton Rouge offers a Level-3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), with a "starlight" ceiling.  The  NICU is within the Family Birthing Center located within Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge (I-12 at O’Neal Lane). The Center is on the 4th floor of the hospital building.

Ochsner Medical Center - Kenner

Ochsner Medical Center - Kenner offers a Level-2 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which is located within the hospital building.

NICU Staff

A team approach is used to care for infants in the NICU. A variety of medical professionals with special skills care for your infant (24 hours a day, seven days a week). The following is brief description of the medical staff involved in caring for your baby.


  • A Neonatologist, a Pediatrician with special training in the care of premature and special needs newborns, leads our medical team. The Neonatologist is in charge of your infant's overall care, but may ask other physicians and specialists to assist with treatment.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

  • The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner is a Registered Nurse with advanced training in the care and management of special needs newborns. A Neonatal Nurse Practitioner is in the NICU 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and works closely with the Neonatologist and nursing staff.


  • NICU nurses, registered professional nurses with special training in the care of premature and special needs newborns, will coordinate the care your infant receives. Before each shift change, an outgoing nurse will give a full report on your baby's care and condition to the incoming nurse.

Respiratory Therapists

  • Respiratory Therapists are trained to care for infants with breathing problems, and assist doctors and nurses in assessing and treating infants.

Occupational Therapists

  • Occupational Therapists (OT) in the NICU help to provide the staff and caregivers with age-appropriate developmental, feeding, and environmental techniques. The OT's role focuses on adapting to the environment, promoting calming skills, positioning and handling techniques, oral motor development, stimulation, family involvement, and therapeutic techniques.

Social Services

  • The Social Services staff is here to offer emotional support and advice for families during this stressful time by providing information and referrals to community services for financial assistance, counseling, education, support groups, home healthcare, and medical equipment.


  • The hospital Chaplain is available to provide spiritual support for you and your family. You may ask your personal Chaplain to visit with you and your baby or you can ask a nurse to contact the hospital Chaplain for spiritual support.

Other Personnel

  • Unit Assistants such as nurse's aides, housekeepers, and other personnel help the NICU operate smoothly by completing paperwork, ordering tests and supplies, maintaining equipment, and keeping areas clean. Various technicians also perform tests that assist the physicians with important clinical information.

Lactation Center

  • The Lactation Center offers a variety of supportive breastfeeding services for mothers of NICU babies such as the following:
    • Breastfeeding consultation line: (504) 391-5195
    • Electric breast pumps to use while your child is hospitalized
    • Follow-up meeting after your baby is discharged