Learn more about the Neonatal Care Unit at MedStar Harbor Hospital.
The goal of MedStar Harbor Hospital and the Neonatal Care Unit staff is to help you and your baby be a family while your baby is in our care. This time can be stressful for families, and you will have many questions. We encourage you to participate in your baby's care and be an active member of our team. We want you to feel comfortable and able to ask us anything regarding your baby.


You and your baby will wear identification bracelets from the time the baby is born until the baby is discharged. It is essential that these bracelets remain on you and the baby. Please do not remove them.

Each family is permitted to have three visitors at the bedside. This number includes the parents. Visitors must be at least 16 years of age. ALL visitors must be free of colds, diarrhea, nausea, cough, eye infection or any other symptoms that might affect your baby.

The baby's brothers and sisters are welcome to come to the nursery for short visits. They also must be free of illness.

There are three exceptions to our visiting policy due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. These regulations protect you and your baby's privacy. You may not visit during emergency procedures or situations, during nursing rounds from 6:50 to 7:20 a.m. and from 6:50 to 7:20 p.m., or during physician rounds at 8 a.m. daily. As parents, you may visit your baby any other time.


We encourage you to be here for your baby's care and feedings. The schedule may change day-to-day to accommodate your baby's needs. It is a good idea to call before you visit. This way, you will know if your baby's schedule has been changed.

If you are planning to come for care and feedings, you should arrive ten to 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time. This allows you time to scrub and visit your baby while he or she is most alert. If your baby is not yet able to eat, you can still change diapers, make him/her comfortable and spend time with your baby. If you are going to be late or cannot be here, please notify us as soon as possible, so we can feed your baby.

Babies in the Neonatal Care Unit need to sleep. If you come between cares or feedings, we will let your baby continue to sleep, UNDISTURBED. This is their growing and healing time.

Phone Calls

We appreciate your calls to check on your baby. Due to hospital and HIPAA guidelines, we only can give information to you, the baby's parents. Please advise family members and friends that we cannot give them any information about your baby. You may not use your cell phone in the Neonatal Care Unit. Please turn your ringer to silent. An uninterrupted visit greatly benefits your baby. You can answer your phone in our waiting room or use our courtesy phone, which is located in our waiting room.

Parent Rooms

The Neonatal Care Unit has two parent rooms. These rooms are equipped with a sofa bed and are intended for short-term use. There is also one family bathroom with a shower. Mothers who come to visit may use the room to rest between your infants' care times. We are a baby friendly hospital and strive to accommodate breastfeeding moms in these rooms. 

A mother may stay if she is breastfeeding her infant; or a mother may stay one to two days prior to her baby's discharge. We encourage mothers to stay one to two days prior to discharge so that you may assume most of the care for your baby. This will allow you to have support available for questions. Our staff will make every effort to answer your questions and help you through these difficult times. Your baby's health is our major focus.

Kangaroo Care at MedStar Harbor Hospital

At MedStar Harbor Hospital, we want to help you care for your baby in a way that is safe, natural, and promotes rest, growth, and healing even while he/she is in the Neonatal Care Unit. Kangaroo care is a technique that allows you to hold your baby, skin on skin, under the supervision of specially trained medical, nursing, and developmental care staff. For babies in intensive care, this provides the contact they need at the various stages of development.

Kangaroo care is appropriate after your baby has completed early intensive care, though he/she may still require oxygen, a ventilator, or may have apnea and bradycardia. When you come to the nursery, we encourage you to look for physical signs of readiness from your baby before you visit with him/her. Staff will be on hand to help you with behavioral cues and assessing your baby’s tolerance. They will cluster care sessions to provide you with a minimum of one hour Kangaroo care.

More Information

To reach the Neonatal Care Unit, please call


Neonatal Care Unit Specalist


Laurel Yap, MD is double-board certified in pediatrics and neonatal/perinatal medicine. He's been providing care at MedStar Harbor for more than 20 years.

Laurel (Larry) Gayon Yap, MD

When a baby is born prematurely or full-term with special medical needs, he or she requires an extra level of medical attention. That’s where the expertise and caring hands of Laurel “Larry” Yap, M.D., comes in.

Double-board certified in pediatrics and neonatal/perinatal medicine — care in the month after and five months before birth, respectively — the Philippines native has provided the tender touch sick and premature infants need at Harbor Hospital for more than two decades.

Read more: Why You're in Excellent Hands with Dr. Yap.