Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Expert Care for Newborn Babies

Sanford Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit provides the latest medical, physical and emotional care for critically ill babies and their families.

Babies in the NICU need specialized care that is different from the care provided to pediatric and adult patients. We offer specialized equipment and providers trained to give the highest level of care to our youngest and tiniest patients.

The NICU cares for all newborns in need of specialized care. Patients include babies born prematurely before 37 weeks of pregnancy, high-risk births and infants born with health conditions that need expert care and management.

For physicians: Refer a patient to Sanford Health.


Family-Centered Care

At Sanford Children’s, our neonatal intensive care is family-focused. The families of our patients play a vital role in the NICU. Studies show that family-focused care results in shorter hospital stays and better long-term health outcomes. Parents are encouraged to stay with their babies for as long as they wish and can come and go freely.

Learn about parenting in the NICU.


Highly Specialized Care

Sanford Children’s neonatal intensive care services have at least one neonatologist on-site 24/7 to monitor and care for your baby. You and your family will work with newborn care specialists, including neonatal nurse practitioners, neonatal physician assistants, neonatal nurses, pediatric surgeons, neonatal transport services and family  support services. Your child’s care team will collaborate to create a treatment plan for your baby.

At Sanford Children’s, we’re setting the standard for neonatal intensive care nationwide. Sanford Children’s in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a member of the National Institute of Health’s Neonatal Research Network - one of only 15 sites in the country.


Taking Your Baby Home

Every case is different. Some babies may spend days in the NICU while others spend weeks in our care. Working with each family, the neonatology service will determine goals and expectations for discharge.

Babies are often ready to go home when they:

  • Start to gain weight

  • Have a stable temperature

  • Can feed without issues

  • Have a steady heartbeat

  • Can breathe normally

Some parents feel nervous about taking their baby home, especially if their baby needs extra care after their NICU stay. Some babies need special medications or medical devices.

Ask your doctor for help if you feel unsure about:

  • Feedings

  • Baby care

  • Infant CPR

  • Illness care

  • Your baby’s medications

  • Using your baby’s medical equipment

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