Special Care Nursery

The Family Birth Center Special Care Nursery (SCN) is located within our newborn nursery and provides care to newborns that need extra support and monitoring. The SCN is staffed 24 hours a day with nurses that have special training to care for your newborn. The SCN staff also use special equipment to monitor your baby.

Visiting in the SCN
Parents are welcome in the nursery and are encouraged to visit frequently. We realize that having your baby in the SCN is stressful and we want you to be with your baby as much as possible. However, because of the special care needs of the babies in this part of the nursery, we do limit visitors to parents, grandparents, and in some instances, siblings. There may be times when you will be asked to step out of the nursery for short periods of time. This allows the medical staff a chance to review your baby’s care, perform tests, and protect patient confidentiality.

When visiting, please follow these guidelines:

  • Please remove your coats and hang them outside the nursery.
  • Every time you enter the nursery, please sanitize your hands with the special antiseptic foam.
  • Please visit your baby only.
  • A parent must either accompany each visitor or give written permission for each visitor to see their baby.
  • We need to keep the babies healthy, so please don’t visit if you have any signs of illness (coughs, colds, rashes, fever, diarrhea or vomiting, sore throat, etc.) or have been recently exposed to anyone who is ill.

To protect your baby’s safety, both parents must continue to wear the hospital identification bands that match your newborn’s identification band for as long as your baby remains in the hospital. On the day your baby is discharged, the matching identification bands will be verified and we may ask you to provide a picture ID. For the safety and well-being of your newborn, visitors must either be accompanied by a parent or show identification if a parent has granted written permission for visitation.

Getting Information about Your Newborn
Please ask your baby’s doctor or nurse if you have any questions about your baby’s care or condition. You can expect to hear from your baby’s doctor once a day, usually after the doctor makes rounds in the morning. You are welcome to call the nursery and talk to your baby’s nurse at any time. However, the nurses will be busy during the times when the staff changes shifts, so please try to avoid calling at 7 am, 3 pm, 7 pm and 11 pm. To protect your newborn’s confidentiality, the staff will only give out information to parents over the phone. Please be sure to leave your current phone number and emergency contact numbers with the nurse at all times.

Use of Cameras and Video Equipment
You may take still photos of your newborn at any time, as long as it does not interfere with the staff taking care of your baby. To protect the privacy of the staff and the other babies in the nursery, please photograph your baby only. When your baby is discharged from the hospital, the staff will provide you with a photo CD of your newborn.

Video or digital recorders may only be used in the nursery with permission of the medical staff. Recorders may be used freely in your room when the baby is able to visit. For confidentiality reasons, panning the nursery or recording staff and other infants is not allowed at any time.

Many of the newborns in the SCN need help with feedings or are not ready to begin feedings. Babies who are not ready to be fed will receive sugar and fluid through an IV, a tiny plastic tube threaded into one of the baby’s veins in an arm, leg, or in the scalp. Medications can also be given through the IV. Some newborns, especially premature newborns or babies with breathing problems, will need to be fed with a feeding tube. These feedings are called NG, OG, or gavage feedings. A tiny plastic tube is placed through the nose or mouth into the stomach and feedings of breast milk or formula are slowly dripped directly into the stomach until the baby is ready to take its feedings orally. When the baby is ready to be fed orally, the baby may be fed using a dropper, a bottle, or even a cup. The doctor and nurse will work together to determine the best way to feed your baby.

We encourage all mothers to breastfeed their babies. You will still be able to breastfeed, even if your baby is not ready to nurse at the breast initially. The nursing staff will help you use a breast pump to collect your breast milk starting soon after birth. The nursing staff will assist you with breastfeeding once your baby is ready.

Storing Breast Milk
Breast milk can be stored in a clean, closable container. Four-ounce baby bottles, plastic bottle liners or Zip-loc brand freezer bags are a good choice. Store your milk in small volumes so it is not wasted. Small plastic storage containers are also available from the SCN staff. Breast milk can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 hours, in a refrigerator for up to 6 days, and in a freezer for up to 6 months. All breast milk that you bring to the SCN must be labeled with your baby’s name, the date, and the time of collection.

What Can You Do?
You are still a very important part of your newborn’s life, even if you and your baby are separated. One of the most important ways to parent during this stressful time is to visit your baby often. Your baby can hear and recognize your voice. Speaking in a soft, calm voice is soothing and will help your newborn get to know you. Please touch your baby, using a firm but gentle touch, not a light tickle touch as this may startle them. When you are unable to visit, please call the nurse at 715.393.3220 to get an update on your baby’s progress.

We are here to help you provide the best possible care for your baby. Please let us know what we can do to support you during your baby’s stay in the Special Care Nursery.

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