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For Parents

We know that having an infant in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) may be a difficult time for you and your family. Our intention is to provide the best possible emotional and physical care while ensuring security for your infant. Here is some additional information about our facility to help you while your premature or critically ill newborn is receiving care.

To see our NICU for yourself, take a photo tour ›

Calling and visiting the NICU

Family is welcome to call or visit the NICU anytime, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Families are encouraged to visit as often as possible.

  • NICU 4200 Wing: 714-456-5285
  • NICU 4400 Wing: 714-456-5041

While your baby is in our NICU, parents will be asked to provide the names of four people who will be permitted to visit your baby without you. Anyone not on this list will only be permitted to visit with a parent present.

Staying with your infant

We want infants and their families to be as comfortable as possible while they are staying in our NICU. The following amenities are available to parents and visiting family members:

  • A waiting room for family
  • A playroom for siblings of premature and critically ill infants
  • Special chairs in each room, called Kangaroo Chairs, designed for mother and child skin-to-skin holding
  • A parent nesting room, where parents can stay for one night with their infant before discharge the next day
  • A bench in every room to accommodate additional visitors or overnight stays


If you need accommodations, UC Irvine has special rates with local hotels – some within walking distance to the medical center and with free shuttle service.

View local accommodations ›


Families visiting the medical center have a wide variety of dining options, including the Tony & Daisy Fan Dining Room, which is located on the first floor of UC Irvine Douglas Hospital. There are also a variety of restaurants in close proximity to the medical center.

View local dining options ›

Mothers who have been admitted to UC Irvine Douglas Hospital can order meals through room service from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. by calling 714-456-3663. Selected snacks and light meals can be ordered after hours.


To protect your infant’s privacy and security, information is given to the parents only. You will be given a NICU parent badge and an identification band with a number that matches your infant’s. You will need your identification number whenever you call or visit the nursery in order to verify your identity.


Parking is available in the south structure on Dawn Way and The City Drive. From Dawn Way, park in the structure on the left. From there, a shuttle is available to transport you to the hospital.

Immediate family members can have their parking sticker validated. Other visitors can purchase a long-term parking pass at a reduced cost. Valet parking is also available at a reduced cost.

Spiritual support

If you have spiritual needs, UCI Health Spiritual Care Services gives access to the appropriate spiritual advisors and cultural groups in the community that can give you emotional support. Families are also welcome to bring their own clergy at any time. For spiritual support services, call 714-456-6157 or 714-456-1749.

Parent FAQs

How long will my infant be in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)?

The requirements for discharge from the NICU are medical stability, consistent weight gain, eating all food by mouth and maintaining temperature in an open crib. The time this takes will vary from infant to infant.

When can I visit my infant?

Family is considered a part of the team in the care of your infant. Parents are welcome 24 hours a day and family members are also welcome, with your permission.

May I take pictures of my baby while in the NICU?

We do not mind if you take pictures, but they may only be of your baby and we request that you ask the nurse prior to taking any pictures.

May I bring personal items for my baby?

Yes. Once your baby is in an open crib and wearing clothes, you may bring outfits of your liking. We request that you not bring stuffed animals or balloons into the NICU.

Can I bring my other children in to meet their new sibling?

Yes. Please make sure that you bring their shot records with you and that they are free of signs and symptoms of illness.

When can I hold my baby?

Our NICU team members focus on delivering family-centered care. We know that holding your infant is beneficial to both you and the baby. However, we must be sure that the baby is stable enough to tolerate being moved out of the bed and being held. Don’t be afraid to ask your baby’s nurse if he or she is ready to be held.

What is the Ronald McDonald House?

The Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home for UC Irvine NICU patients’ families (including siblings) who live outside of Orange County. The Ronald McDonald House has bedrooms, living rooms, playrooms and a playground where big sisters and brothers can play. Ronald McDonald House volunteers provide freshly prepared meals each day for visiting families, and family assistance program volunteers also provide support to all family members during their stay. The Ronald McDonald House in Orange is located at 383 South Batavia St. Their phone number is 714-639-3600.

Do you provide tours of the NICU for prospective parents?

We will gladly provide tours of the NICU for prospective parents. These tours can be arranged by speaking to a member of your healthcare team. Your tour will be conducted by a designated representative, who will show you our NICU, describe our services, introduce you to the clinical team and show you all of the resources we have available.

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