NICU banner image

The Westmead Women’s & Newborn Health Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) cares for babies born prematurely or born with health problems requiring specialist support. Our Unit can provide ventilation to extremely premature newborn babies. For more information on prematurity of newborn babies, you can read here. We have a close working relationship with Westmead Children’s Hospital (WCH) and provide the initial care needed for newborn babies being transferred for surgery at the WCH. We care for almost 1500 newborns a year from the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and around the state of NSW. You can find more information on the NSW Pregnancy and Newborn Services Network (PSN) here.

Visiting our NICU

  • We care for your baby 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • You are welcome as the parents, to be with your baby anytime day or night for as long as you wish.
  • Grandparents of the baby, or up to 4 chosen support people are welcome to visit. Visiting times for grandparents or chosen support people are 10am – 12pm and 2:30pm – 8pm.
  • Only two people are allowed to be at the bedside at a time but one of these must be a parent.
  • Quiet time is between 12noon to 2pm when the nursery lights will be turned down and your visitors will be asked to leave until 2:30pm, during this time we let your baby rest and grow.
  • We have a Parents Sitting Room inside the entrance to NICU. This area is for parents to relax and talk to other parents, whose babies are in the nursery. Coffee and tea is provided by the nursery.
  • To download our visiting information see Neonatal Intensive Care Unit visiting information.


Entering the NICU

Entry to the NICU is through a secured front entrance. Please ring the bell and wait for a staff member to open the door. If there is no answer straight away especially in the afternoons or at night, the staff may be busy caring for a baby and will answer as soon as they can. These security measures are to protect you and your baby's privacy and safety.

Fact Sheet

Hand washing

We ask all parents and visitors to wash their hands immediately before entering the unit using the alcohol hand pump at the door of the NICU. Hand washing helps to protect your baby and helps to prevent the spread of infections that are carried on the skin.

Preventing infection to your baby or others

We ask parents and visitors to follow the actions below to prevent babies getting infections:

  • Please wash hands using the alcohol rub (pink fluid).
  • Place jackets, jumpers and coats on hooks provided outside tour baby’s room.
  • Please remove all jewellery (watches, rings except wedding rings).
  • Please roll up long sleeves to your elbow.
  • Please rewash hands with soap and water after each nappy change and on leaving the NICU.

Babies are very vulnerable to infections such as colds, flu, fever, rash, diarrhoea, etc. If you or your visitors have been unwell, please do not visit the NICU.

If you are unsure it is safe for you to visit the NICU, please speak to your local doctor to assess your risk of spreading infection to premature or unwell newborn babies.

How to contact us

  • You can telephone the NICU directly on 02 8890-7375 for general enquiries between 7:am & 9pm, 7 days a week.
  • Once your baby has been admitted to the NICU you will be provided with the telephone number of the room your baby is in. If you are unable to visit or would like to speak to the staff caring for your baby, you can call anytime, day or night.

Who will care for your baby in the NICU?

During your baby's stay with us you can expect to meet many health professionals:

  • Consultant Neonatologists (specialist doctors) for newborn babies
  • Neonatal Fellows -Doctors doing their final studies to become a consultant in the specialty of neonatology
  • Registrars -Doctors training to become paediatricians or neonatologists
  • Nurse Manager Senior Nurse in charge of all nursing staff and resources for the NICU
  • Clinical Nurse Unit Managers (NUM’s) Nurse in charge of the staff and the unit for the shift
  • Clinical Nurse Educators (CNE’s) Provide clinical training and support for nursing and medical staff working in the NICU
  • Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC) Nursing expert in NICU and responsible for development and review of clinical practice
  • Registered Nurses (RN’s) – Qualified nurses providing bedside care
  • Endorsed Enrolled Nurses (EEN’s) – Qualified enrolled nurses who can administer medications
  • Neonatal Outreach Team – Qualified nurse practitioners that organise necessary support and follow up care after discharge
  • Social Worker – Qualified professional trained to provide emotional and social support to families in distress
  • Speech Pathologist – Qualified professional trained to help babies with development of sucking, swallowing and speech
  • Clinical Psychologist – Qualified professional trained in the understanding of emotional and mental distress and ways to relieve distress and promote mental wellbeing
  • Lactation Consultant – Specialist nurse / midwife in breastfeeding and infant feeding
  • Ward clerks – Trained staff who manage the phones and paperwork for NICU
  • Student midwives – Students being trained in the care of women throughout pregnancy, childbirth and for the first few months after birth and for care of the newborn baby
  • Student nurses – Students being trained to become registered nurses and provide bedside care
  • Volunteers – generous people who give their time freely to help our service
  • Pharmacist – Qualified professional who dispenses medications and provides information on safe medication administration
  • Occupational Therapist – Qualified professional who supports babies to develop normal movement skills with daily activities.

How do I take part in the care of my baby?

  • Every morning there is a ward round where the team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals meet and plan the care for your baby. You are welcome to join us for your baby’s plan of care
  • For privacy reasons you will be asked to leave the room during the ward round while discussion occurs for other babies in the room. When the team have finished you may re-enter the room
  • We will include you in all of the care provided for your baby because we want to support your parenting and we understand how important your involvement is to your baby’s wellbeing
  • Staff will teach you and help you to; change your baby’s nappy, feed and bath, cuddle your baby and any other cares your baby may need.

Fact Sheets

How long will my baby be in the NICU?

The length of stay is different for each baby and depends on their gestation (weeks of pregnancy) at time of birth and if there are any health complications. Your doctors will discuss with you the expected length of stay and what developmental stage your baby will need to be for discharge home.
  • When your baby is ready to leave intensive care but still needs specialist nursery care, we will arrange a transfer to a special care nursery at a hospital that is closer to your home.

Growth and development

Neonatal Follow-up Service

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides follow-up care for babies born extremely preterm who may be vulnerable to developmental challenges as they progress through early childhood.

Who is eligible?

Babies from Westmead Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who were born <29 weeks gestation or weighing <1000 grams are routinely seen by the Growth & Development Clinic.

Corrected age for preterm babies

When we look at development of your preterm baby, it is important to take into account their prematurity by working out their ‘corrected age’. This is their age if they had been born on their due date. We use your baby’s corrected age until they are around 2 -3 years of age.

Follow-up schedule

Your baby needs follow-up at regular intervals:

  • At 3 months corrected age
  • At 8 months corrected age (as needed)
  • At 12 months corrected age
  • At 2 years corrected age
  • At 5 years of age


The Growth & Development Clinic offers a range of services:

  • Assessment focussing on your child’s developmental progress, growth & medical concerns relating to being born extremely early
  • Early referral to therapies and service providers who will help your child’s development
  • Ideas and suggestions to assist and encourage your child’s development and learning
  • An opportunity to ask questions about your child’s progress
  • To provide support and resources to your family

What does the assessment involve?

We aim to work closely with you as parents, to enable you to meet your child’s needs. This information will also help inform us to assist other families whose babies are born prematurely.

At each assessment, your child will be seen by a specialist multidisciplinary team who will provide expert advice. You will be with your child during each visit. Your child's progress will be discussed with you and a full report will be sent to you, your treating doctors and relevant professionals involved in your child's care.

Do you need to make an appointment?

No, your baby will be automatically enrolled in our clinic after discharge from the NICU. We will contact you when your baby is around 3 months corrected age for the first appointment. It is important that you notify us of any change in your contact details (phone or address).

Parent support group

  • When your baby is born early or with a health problem, we understand that this is a very stressful time for you. Without support, this experience may feel overwhelming or traumatic and can have lifelong effects on the emotional wellbeing of the whole family
  • We work with the Miracle Babies Foundation, a support group run by parents of babies who have been in a NICU. Every 2 weeks the Miracle Babies Foundation support group meet in the NICU Parents sitting room. We encourage you to come to these support sessions and meet other parents who are going through similar experiences as yourself. You can find out more about the Miracle Babies Foundation.

Research activities in the NICU

Many babies and families in the NICU take part in research projects conducted within the hospital. This research allows us to find new and better ways to help babies, improve survival and long-term health. You may be asked if your baby can be part of a research project or we may ask you to be part of a research project. The research project will be clearly explained to you and we will not enrol your baby without your permission. Taking part in research is your choice and no matter what you decide we will continue to provide your baby with the best possible care.

Please note

  • A free and confidential interpreter service, including Auslan, is available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
    Ask staff to arrange an interpreter for you.
  • Carers provide care and unpaid assistance to others. They may be family members, friends or neighbours.
    Please tell staff if you have a carer.
  • Parking is available on the hospital campus for a fee.


Smoking harms both you and your unborn baby, all our health facilities and grounds are 100% smoke free. Fines apply. the Quitline can help you to stop smoking and give your baby the best start in life.


Quitline Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) 1300 7848 36


Quitline Arabic 1300 7848 03


Quitline English 137 848


Quitline Korean 1300 7848 23


Quitline Vietnamese 1300 7848 65

Aboriginal people

Quitline for Aboriginal people 137 848

We understand how important your involvement is to your baby’s wellbeing