Currently, the cardiac activity of infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is monitored with contact sensors. These techniques can cause injuries and infections, particularly in very premature infants with fragile skin. Recently, remote photoplethysmography (rPPG) showed its potential to measure cardiac activity with a camera without skin contact. The main limitations of this technique are its lack of robustness to subject motion and visible light requirements. The aim of this study is to investigate the feasibility of robust rPPG for NICU patients in near darkness. Video recordings using dedicated infrared illumination were made of 7 infants, age 30-33 weeks, at a NICU in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The pulse rate can be detected with an average error of 1.5 BPM and 2.1 BPM when measured at the face and upper torso region, respectively. Overall, the correct pulse rate is detected for 87% of the time. A camera-based framework for robust pulse extraction in near darkness of NICU patients was proposed and successfully validated. The pulse rate could be reliably detected from all evaluated skin regions. Recordings with vigorous body movements, involving occlusion of the selected skin region, are still a challenge.