Neonatology | Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C.


A new baby

At Children’s National Medical Center, the Division of Neonatology is dedicated to providing the highest level of expert, compassionate care for your newborn baby. Our division, led by Billie Lou Short, M.D., possesses the top neonatologists in the country and has a Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), administering the most advanced treatments to our tiniest patients.

Ranked Number One in the United States for Neonatal Care

We know that having a baby with complex conditions can be difficult for you and your family, and we’re here to support you through every step of your journey. Our team is uniquely qualified to treat your baby with the most innovative therapies available.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Ranked Number One in the Nation

    U.S. News & World Report ranks our neonatology program number one in the nation, reflecting our commitment to excellence in care for our patients and families.  
  • Level IV NICU

    Children’s National has one of the only Level IV NICUs in the Washington, D.C., area, offering the highest level of care for premature and ill newborns.
  • High-Risk Prenatal Care

    Our fetal medicine team specializes in high-risk pregnancies – diagnosing your baby in utero (in the womb) and providing a treatment plan for delivery and after birth.
  • ECMO Breathing Therapy

    In 1984, Children’s National became the first children’s hospital to offer extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which acts as an artificial set of heart and lungs for critically ill infants. Our program is now one of the largest in the country for infants and is designated as an ECMO Center of Excellence.
  • Nutrition and Feeding Program

    The experts in our Neonatal Nutrition Program work closely to evaluate your baby’s growth and nutrition during their hospital stay. Additionally, we help families with lactation and breastfeeding needs and give our patients access to the Donor Milk Program.
  • Special Monitoring for Brain Health

    The Neonatal Neurology and Neurocritical Care Program offers patients access to neonatal neurologists who regularly monitor developmental progress and research brain injury prevention and management. 
  • Child Development Program

    Our Child Development Clinic evaluates more than 1,500 children each year, ranging in age from birth to 4 years old. Our specialists will work with you to address developmental concerns.
  • Regional NICUs

    We partner with several community hospitals in Virginia and Maryland to provide greater access to our NICU services.
  • Family Support

    We offer a full range of support services to help ease the stress on your family during your baby’s hospital stay. You’ll have access to a dedicated care team consisting of a family support specialist, social worker, case manager and child life specialist who will follow your family throughout your time in the NICU.

The Importance of a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

While most babies are born healthy, some newborns are premature or may have health problems, requiring care in a NICU. The American Academy of Pediatrics designates NICUs by the level of care available. At Children’s National, our NICU is designated Level IV, providing the highest level of neonatal care for the more than 800 babies we see each year. Our nursery has clinical teams who can take care of babies who need special surgery for birth defects and other disorders. Your baby will also be treated by pediatric subspecialists, specialized nurses and equipment that can care for the most complex conditions.

The Children's National NICU is one of few Level IV NICUs in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. While no one wants to think about their baby needing NICU care, it's important to know that this level of care is available nearby.