Neonatal intensive care (NICU)

Dell Children’s Medical Center delivers the highest level of newborn care for preterm and critically sick babies in our Level IV NICU.

Baby in NICU.

Level IV NICU at Dell Children’s Medical Center

Neonatology at Dell Children's Medical Center is ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report 2023-24.Doctors and critical care teams at Dell Children’s Medical Center at Ascension Seton deliver advanced care for even the smallest and most fragile young patients. As a Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), we provide the highest level of care for critically ill newborns and those born prematurely. Our experienced on-site neonatologists provide care 24/7. At Dell Children’s, your child and family are connected to the most pediatric specialists and specialty programs in Central Texas. From our NICU, we provide on-site consultation and care from every pediatric medical and surgical specialty. And your family is connected to advanced imaging and respiratory support. The care your child and family needs is here, close to home.

Dell Children's Medical Center is ranked among the nation's best Neonatology specialty programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2023-2024.

Our multidisciplinary care team takes the time to explain your child’s diagnosis and answer all your questions – big and small. We work with you and your child’s other specialists to create a care plan that’s right for your child and family. If your child needs surgery, have confidence knowing Dell Children’s Medical Center is one of the few hospitals in the nation that has a Level I Children’s Surgical Program designation from the American College of Surgeons. This means we deliver the highest level of surgical care for even the tiniest patients.

Advanced treatment and procedures

Doctors and care teams in the NICU at Dell Children’s provide all the most advanced care that critically ill newborns may need – from surgical care to breathing care to advanced imaging and other supportive therapies. In the NICU at Dell Children’s Medical Center, our doctors have the expertise to diagnose, treat and manage even the most complex conditions, including:

Multidisciplinary care team

Our care team at Dell Children’s Medical Center collaborates to deliver the highest level of care for premature and critically ill newborns. Your family’s care team may include:

  • Maternal-fetal medicine specialists
  • Neonatologists
  • Neonatal nurse practitioners
  • Neonatal nurses
  • Neurologists
  • Cardiologists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Occupational, physical and speech therapists
  • Registered dietitians
  • Pharmacists
  • Lactation consultants
  • Social workers
  • Surgeons
  • Child life specialists
  • Language interpreters
  • Other pediatric specialists

Family-centered care for critically sick newborns

Father holding his infant child's hand in a hospital room.At Dell Children’s, our care teams provide a comfortable environment for your baby and family. And our NICU is designed to give each baby and family their own hospital room. Having private rooms can decrease stimulation and stress, and can help promote bonding between your baby and family. Your NICU care team keeps you and your family as involved in your child’s care. You are welcome to attend medical rounds and participate in your child’s neonatal care as much as possible. Web cameras are also used so you can securely view your baby 24/7 on your personal device.

Child life specialists are part of your child’s care team. These specialists support your family’s emotional health while your child is receiving care in the NICU. During some procedures, we may provide helpful distraction to your child. We also work with families to provide visual and sound stimulation for your baby, using pictures, artwork and voice recordings.

Supportive care, including care for emotional and spiritual health, is available to your family. Psychologists, social workers, chaplains and financial advisors are also part of your care team. Together, we deliver care that supports your family. Talk with your care team if you have questions or concerns. We can connect you with other care and services you may need.

Supporting your preferences for breast milk in the NICU

Breast milk is full of antibodies your baby needs to be healthy. And, it has essential nutrients for healthy growth and development. While in the NICU, we work closely with you to help make sure your baby receives your preferences for breast milk as a priority. But if your baby is born prematurely or your milk supply has been delayed, you may have the option for your baby to receive donor breast milk while they are in the NICU. Donor breast milk can provide the essential antibodies and nutrients your baby needs.

Transferring a patient to the NICU 

The NICU at Dell Children’s Medical Center provides care for babies throughout Central Texas and beyond. Dell Children’s has a dedicated neonatal transport team to bring critically ill babies directly to a higher level of care – whether by ambulance, helicopter or plane. Led by a neonatologist, our NICU transport team includes experienced neonatal nurses and respiratory therapists. Our neonatal transport team has the specialized skills and advanced technology needed to care for babies while they are being transported.

To transfer a patient to the NICU at Dell Children’s Medical Center, call 866-459-5477 and request a neonatal transfer. You will be quickly connected to a neonatologist and the transport team.

Neonatal intensive care (NICU)