Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)

Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), located at the Bernard & Millie Duker Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center, is designated the Regional Perinatal Center, providing the highest level of care for critically sick newborns.

Our neonatologists provide intensive medical, surgical and nursing care. Our technology includes the latest life support and electronic monitoring systems, and a complete range of diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities. We also maintain an air and ground transport service for infant patients.

Saratoga Hospital and Glens Falls Hospital are both Level 1 Perinatal Centers, which provide care to normal and low-risk mothers and newborns, with the option of sending newborns who need a higher level of care to the NICU at Albany Medical Center.

As a high-level NICU, we treat all conditions affecting critically sick babies, including:

  • Congenital heart disease, including surgery
  • Genetic disorders
  • Hyperbilirubinemia and jaundice
  • Hypoglycemia and metabolic disorders
  • Infections
  • Neurologic disorders including congenital, acquired, surgical, seizures and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy requiring therapeutic hypothermia
  • Prematurity
  • Respiratory disorders including congenital, acquired and respiratory distress syndrome
  • Surgical conditions
  • Family education & support classes/programs
  • Family lounge
  • Lactation consultants and support services
  • "Medical Rounds" each morning so parents can talk with the medical team and ask questions.
  • Parent locker room with lockers, a shower, a changing table
  • Transition home/Rooming-In service - When you're preparing to go home, the NICU offers special rooms designed for you to care for your baby by yourself for an extended period of time with continued support.

Mother's Own Milk (MOM) is our medical recommendation for your baby.  Your milk is not just nutrition for your baby; it is also considered 'medicine', as it contains powerful components that help your baby fight infection.

Besides decreasing the chance of infection, human milk provides many other benefits, including:

  • Helps your baby's intestinal tract, brain, and eyes develop and grow.
  • Decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), some childhood cancers, childhood diabetes, and obesity.
  • Has been shown to increase IQ scores.

What can you do to help?  It's very important that your baby gets your milk as soon as she/he is ready. After your delivery, your nurse will help you begin hand expression or pumping as soon as possible.

What we can do to support you: International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) are available to support you seven days a week. Members of the NICU health care team are here to help you with any questions you may have, and can assist you in arranging an appointment with a lactation consultant.  The NICU features electric breast pumps that can be used in the lactation room, or if you prefer, there are pumps on rolling stands that can go into the patient rooms.

NICU Lactation Room Features:

  • Four private stations for pumping.
  • Extra supplies including milk and storage containers, steam bags, and a microwave for cleaning pump parts.
  • Cold drinks and snacks for moms in the lactation room refrigerator.
  • Resource materials are available in the lactation room and from the lactation consultants.

We are committed to partnering with you to give your baby the best possible care. The 'best' begins with having your own milk available for your baby.

The NICU Cuddler program is a joint venture between the children's hospital and Albany Medical College, to support the developmental needs of our NICU patients and to provide an opportunity for our medical students to learn through hands-on experience.

Our cuddlers are medical students who have completed comprehensive training. They will hold your newborn between 15 minutes to one hour. During this time, they can read, talk, or sing to your newborn, providing stimulation to help your baby grow.

Research shows, providing extra cuddling for newborns can improve long-term health, reduce stress and pain, and even shorten the length of their hospital stay.

Participation is not required!  If you do not want your newborn held by a NICU Cuddler, please let your nurse know or write it on your infant's care board.

Perinatal Outreach

In the Albany Med Health System, Albany Medical Center is designated the Level IV Northeastern New York (NENY) Regional Perinatal Center. Albany Medical Center provides transport and consultation services to all birthing hospitals in a 25-county area of northeastern New York and western New England, including partner hospitals Glens Falls Hospital and Saratoga Hospital.

The Perinatal Outreach Center has a variety of programs and materials to help you prepare for the birth of your baby.


High-Risk Infant Follow Up Program

The High-Risk Infant Follow Up program offers continuous support for NICU patients after discharge, who are at the highest risk for developing complex health and development issues during infancy and early childhood.

The goal is to identify concerns early and connect the family with the necessary support services, to help patients reach their fullest potential.

Learn more about the High-Risk Infant Follow Up Program


Family Resources

The Ronald McDonald House, on South Lake Avenue, in Albany serves as a home away from home for the families of children receiving care at the Bernard & Millie Duker Children's Hospital.

Learn more about the Ronald McDonald House, or call 518-438-2655 for more information.