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Newborn Intensive Care and NICUs

Your baby’s health is our highest priority. Babies who are born premature or with medical issues receive expert care at St. Luke’s Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICUs), where our board certified neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners, and dedicated nurses are here for you and your baby—anytime, day and night.

Highlights & Resources

  • Article

    Premature (Preterm) Infant

  • Article

    NICU: Communicating With the Staff

  • Blog Post

    St. Luke’s NICU baby to NICU caregiver: a nurse comes full circle

  • Blog Post

    St. Luke’s NICU turns 50: Three original nurses look back at what they helped to bring into the world

NICU Levels of Care at St. Luke’s

St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise is home to Idaho's largest and most experienced Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Board-certified neonatologists are on site for 24/7 immediate care, and work with a broad array of pediatric surgical and medical subspecialists.

Virtually every newborn with an emergency or long-term need can be cared for in the Children's Hospital NICU, which is rated as a level 4 NICU (minus complex cardiac surgery and ECMO). This means we provide the highest level of neonatal care, with the exception of heart surgery and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), also known as heart-lung bypass. 

We work very closely with children's hospitals around the western United States who can provide these higher levels of care. Our dedicated Air St. Luke's maternal-child transport team provides safe transport when infants require care out of state, and our pediatric subspecialists provide follow-up care when they return home.

Our Magic Valley NICU is rated level 3, offering complex care by the same group of neonatal doctors and nurse practitioners as our Boise NICU. These doctors and nurses are on site 24/7. Some infants with more serious or long-term illnesses, complex medical issues, or extreme prematurity will be transported to the Boise NICU for more specialized medical or surgical care.

Our Meridian and Nampa NICUs are rated level 2, which means we care for infants with medical issues that are considered moderate, stable, or expected to resolve quickly. This may include IV feedings and infusions, tube feedings, or oxygen and noninvasive respiratory support. These units care for infants who are 8 weeks premature or less. The same neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners who staff our Boise NICU are on site or on call at Meridian and Nampa as well. 

Our Air St. Luke's maternal-child team transports babies to the Boise NICU from surrounding areas, and also transfers babies from Boise to the Magic Valley, Meridian and Nampa NICUs to bring them closer to home as their conditions improve.

NICU Infant Nutrition

St. Luke’s uses donor human milk (DHM) for at-risk infants to supplement a mother’s own milk supply if it is insufficient or if the mother is unable to provide milk for her infant. The use of DHM is recognized as best practice and is the gold standard for nutritional care of at-risk infants. DHM is obtained from facilities accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).

NICU Follow-up Clinic

St. Luke's Children's NICU Follow-up Clinic provides continued assessment for many NICU babies after they "graduate" from the unit. Clinic staff members evaluate children's growth and development, ensure their access to resources, and coach parents in recognizing and caring for growth or developmental concerns.

Staff includes a behavior and development pediatric physician specialist, developmental specialist, neonatal nurses, social workers, pediatric physical and occupational therapists, speech and language specialists, and child psychologists.

For more information, call (208) 381-7075.

Parent Support and Advocacy

For information on support and advocacy groups for parents of babies in the NICU, contact the NICU social worker or talk with your nurse:

  • Boise: (208) 381-3254 or (208) 381-7673
  • Magic Valley: (208) 814-3620
  • Meridian: (208) 706-1565
  • Nampa: (208) 205-7199