What is a rooming-in period with my baby in the NICU?

During your baby’s stay in the NICU, the staff will work with you to teach you how to care for your baby at home. Shortly before you go home, you may have the opportunity to share a room with your baby (“room-in”) for a determined amount of time. This rooming-in period is like a dress rehearsal for going home. It gives you a chance to practice all you've learned, with a nurse close by for help and advice. During the rooming-in period, the nursing staff is available to take your baby's vital signs, to answer questions, and to assume care of your baby in case of an emergency situation.

Rooming-in is intended to resemble a home-like atmosphere in that parents assume total responsibility for the physical care and supervision of their child in the NICU. The rooming-in period is usually 12 to 48 hours. Ideally, both the mother and father are involved, as well as other adult family members who may be involved in your infant’s care. You must remain with your baby, or have another caregiver remain with your baby, during the entire rooming-in period. During the rooming-in period, you use any monitoring or other equipment you will need to use at home.

During the rooming-in experience in the NICU, you will be responsible for:
  • Providing all care according to physician orders and the home care plan.
  • Arranging for relief periods with your co-caregiver(s) or hospital staff.
  • Notifying the bedside nurse for help if you have questions or problems.
  • Giving a complete report to the next caregiver, which will include the child’s status and needs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.