Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) in Tampa, FL

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is part of St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, but it's located at its partner hospital across the street at St. Joseph's Women's Hospital. We also have a Level III NICU at Mease Countryside Hospital and a Level II NICU at Winter Haven Women's Hospital and Morton Plant Hospital.


Our 76-bed NICU provides the highest level of care as designated by the American Academy of Pediatrics. A Level IV NICU can provide the most complex level of neonatal care including surgical repair of congenital or acquired conditions and immediate on-site access to pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists and pediatric anesthesiologists. A highly skilled and experienced nursing team and physicians board-certified in neonatology provide care around the clock 24/7 for premature newborns and those born with conditions requiring special care.

The unit is busy; more than 1,200 infants a year are admitted and stay anywhere from several days to four or five months, depending on their medical condition. The types of medical challenges treated in the unit include:

  • Pre-term birth as young as babies born at 23 weeks gestation and weighing less than 1 lb.
  • Babies born with an infection
  • Babies who are stressed during birth and need more attention than in the newborn nursery
  • Babies born with a congenital anomaly such as spina bifida, bowel conditions and heart defects
  • Babies that require a higher level of care than given in traditional Mother/Baby units.
  • Babies who need "cooling" for diagnosis of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy.
  • Features and Amenities

    Private Rooms
    Our NICU rooms are built to be a peaceful healing place to promote family bonding. Parents have a private area within their baby's room to sleep, shower or watch TV. Each room has beautiful window views to enhance the coziness.
  • High-risk maternity unit

    Dedicated to women who require hospital bed rest during any phase of their pregnancy. We’re one of the only hospitals in Tampa Bay with a high-risk maternity unit.

  • Breast milk donor program
    If mom can’t provide her own milk, BayCare has a breast milk donor program that provides nutritious human breast milk to babies in the NICU.
  • Respiratory care
    We have a respiratory team that specializes in infants and newborns. They’re trained to handle the care of respiratory-compromised premature babies.
  • Hearing and developmental assessments
    Premature babies always receive a hearing and developmental assessment to determine whether they need additional services, such as rehabilitation, before they go home. Should developmental or medical follow up be required, your baby’s care team will make a plan before discharge.
  • Coordinated care
    To establish a relationship before the baby leaves the hospital, the family's pediatrician may become involved in the baby's care shortly before discharge. This makes the transition to home better for the baby and easier for the parents. Our NICU team talks to the families every day that their baby is in our care.
  • Support groups
    Our NICU support group knows that having a baby in the NICU can often be scary and overwhelming. While the focus in on your baby, we strongly encourage you to care for yourself. Coming to a support group is a great way to start; it’s open to all families who have a baby in the NICU. This is a time for you to talk with other families who are in similar situations. You can get the support you need and deserve.
  • Welcome class
    This welcome class will help you get oriented to the NICU and introduce you to the roles of the health care team, explain basic NICU terminology and identify your expectations while your baby is here. We’ll cover the importance of handwashing and discuss the NICU routine. The class is recommended within the first five days after admission.
  • Infant massage
    Through infant massage, you’ll learn how to help your baby improve their breathing, strengthen their immune system, relieve constipation and much more. You’ll discover the benefits of touch and massage for you and your baby. This class is open to all NICU parents.
  • BabyWatch
    We offer scheduled webcam time for you to see your infant and feel connected when you can't physically be together. This is made possible with the encrypted Blue Jeans Meeting application using our NICU iPads.