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Common Questions about Fetal Heart Services

Can I breastfeed my child?

Our team strongly supports breastfeeding. We will work diligently to help you safely breastfeed your baby. Doing so depends on a several factors, including your baby's overall medical condition, whether your baby is term or premature and whether your baby will need surgery shortly after birth.

Your baby’s diagnosis may occasionally prevent safe breastfeeding. During these times we can supply your baby with your pumped breastmilk through a feeding tube or  bottle when this is safe. Our lactation specialists and breastfeeding champions will help you with this process. All hospital units provide milk storage, with breast pumps and pumping rooms on each floor.

Where can I stay while my child is in the hospital?

Your options depend on where your child is located. Both the NICU and PCICU sleep rooms may be available on a daily basis. These rooms are for out-of-town parents, or those whose babies are in critical condition, scheduled for surgery or recently out of surgery.

In the PCICU, one adult family member may stay in the room with the child. Many parents from out of town stay at the Ronald McDonald House, located a few blocks away, while their child is in one of the ICUs.

To participate in your child’s care, we expect parents to stay with your child when on the floor (the regular, non-ICU unit). At these times we teach you everything you need to know to prepare for taking your child home. Many hotels are nearby, some of which offer medical rates. Contact one of our social workers for more information about lodging.

Can siblings visit?

Our visiting policies have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Siblings are only allowed to visit the NICU under special circumstances.

Under normal circumstances, siblings of any age may visit for 30 minutes in the PCCU. You must complete a medical screening form prior to their visit. It may be helpful to prepare siblings for what they will see in the ICU. Our Child Life Specialists can help.

What are hospital visiting hours?

Parents are not considered visitors so they can come and go at any hour. During the night, the main doors to the hospital are locked You will need to enter through the Emergency Room. Parents receive an armband that identifies you as a parent. Visiting hours for others is 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Will my insurance cover my baby's stay at Vanderbilt?

Children's Hospital is in network for most major insurance companies and most TennCare plans. Please check with your insurance company or your employer to ensure we are in your network. Because we are the only hospital in the area with pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery services, insurance providers often to grant in-network coverage even if we are out of network. Contact the social worker for further guidance if needed.