Neonatal intensive care unit in Caldwell, Idaho

The newborn intensive care unit (NICU) provides intensive medical care to newborn babies. Infants visit the NICU because they are born prematurely, are critically ill or had a difficult birth. In West Valley Medical Center's NICU, they will receive compassionate, round-the-clock care from our highly trained neonatal physicians and registered nurse practitioners.

To speak to West Valley Medical Center's NICU director, please call (208) 455-4060.

NICU doctors serving Caldwell, Idaho

At West Valley, our NICU is prepared 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide extra attention to our most vulnerable patients. We know it can be alarming to learn your newborn requires supervision in our NICU, but rest assured your baby is in experienced, compassionate hands. Our Level II NICU has board-certified physicians specializing in neonatology as well as neonatal nurse practitioners on-site throughout the day, providing the highest quality care for your little one. Additionally, parents take heart that these experienced providers are only part of your baby’s larger care team.

Your baby’s care team involves healthcare professionals from several different units, and you may see the following medical professionals there:

  • Neonatologists — NICU doctors who specialize in the care of newborn infants, especially those born prematurely or with an illness
  • Neonatal nurse practitioners — nurses with long-term experience treating children in a NICU
  • Registered nurses — nurses who are specially trained in newborn resuscitation and stabilization
  • Charge nurse — your family's point of contact while your baby is in the NICU
  • Unit director — oversees the entire NICU
  • Respiratory therapists — manage infants with respiratory issues such as those using a nasal cannula, C-PAP or other ventilators
  • Lactation consultants — a healthcare professional who specializes in assisting breastfeeding mothers
  • Social workers — supports parents in various ways during their child's NICU stay

Breastfeeding support for NICU families

Breastfeeding is a learned skill like any other, so our lactation specialists have completed special training to support mothers as they learn to breastfeed. Many infants can still breastfeed while in the NICU and others can be fed expressed breastmilk. Our lactation consultants can help you manage your milk supply, try different nursing positions and use a breast pump. They can also help with common and more serious complications with such as low milk supply and blocked ducts.

To speak with one of our lactation specialists, please call (208) 455-4093 with breastfeeding questions.

Social workers for NICU families

A West Valley social worker will contact you during your stay to make sure your needs are being met and your questions are being answered. They will review any items you may need for your baby (such as clothes, diapers and a car seat) and refer you to community agencies who may be able to provide you with assistance.

Babies, especially ill or premature babies, may require close monitoring, special equipment and therapies after leaving our hospital. Our social workers will also assist you with discharge planning and refer you to agencies that provide these services. They are also available Monday through Friday to provide emotional support.

Visiting your baby in the NICU

Parents, grandparents and other supportive family members are encouraged to visit as much as possible. Your visits help you get to know your baby and learn how to care for them. Parents who are actively involved in their infant's care during hospitalization it can lead to healthier outcomes.

Your baby’s safety and health are our highest priorities. That is why our Family Maternity Center is a “locked unit.” To gain admission, use the call button outside the door. When we receive your call we will immediately let you in the unit.

Our NICU visitation policy includes the following:

  • Parents are permitted to stay overnight in the NICU.
  • No more than two visitors can be at your infant's bedside at any time since premature and ill infants cannot tolerate too much handling.
  • A parent must accompany all visitors other than grandparents.
  • Visitors younger than 18 years old are not permitted to visit the NICU, including siblings. We understand that siblings want to meet the newest family addition, but this is to limit any harmful exposure for the already fragile NICU babies.
  • Anyone experiencing even minor symptoms (e.g., sniffling, coughing) refrain from visiting the NICU. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of respiratory illness for premature and sick babies and poses an acute danger to them.

If you need support regarding visitation rules, please reach out to our social worker or charge nurse.

*Please note that our hospital visitation policy has changed for the safety of our patients. You can find out more about our safety measures in our Coronavirus Resource Hub.

Advanced NICU equipment

Everything in a NICU is new and different for families. Some parents find the medical equipment intimidating, but our NICU devices are specifically designed to keep the tiniest humans as comfortable as possible during their stay. You can rest assured that each device is providing crucial care for your baby's continued health. We use state-of-the-art devices to monitor, support, diagnose and treat your baby so you can bring them home as soon as possible.

Some of the equipment you may see in our NICU includes:

  • Neonatal beds — This multi-purpose portable bed system is for premature babies weighing less than 800 grams or critically ill full-term babies. It creates a supportive microenvironment with phototherapy lights, humidity control, a scale and procedure light, eliminating the need to move infants from bed to bed. It also gives caregivers and parents easy access to the baby.
  • Physiologic monitors — These portable, modular beside devices monitor your infant's heart, respiration, blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels around the clock.
  • Syringe infusion pumps — This pump is used to dispense small, precise micro-infusions of medication for greater control and accuracy.
  • Radiant warmers – This device is used to maintain your infant's body temperature by providing continuous heat while still allowing caregivers access from any side.
  • Hearing screeners — This device is used to screen both ears at once to detect any problems with your baby's hearing.
  • Breast pumps — Each NICU unit contains a two-phase pumping system that allows mothers to provide expressed breast milk (highly recommended) to their infants. The initial, rapid rhythm slows to a deeper rhythm for efficient milk expression.

Please ask our nurses any questions you have about our NICU equipment. It is important to us that you and your family feel comfortable while your baby is in our care.