Cerebral ischemia after birth and during labor is a major cause of death and severe complications such as cerebral palsy. In the USA alone, cerebral palsy results in permanent disability of 10,000 newborns per year and approximately 500,000 of the total population. Currently, no technology is capable of direct monitoring of cerebral oxygenation in newborns. This study proposes the use of an optoacoustic technique for noninvasive cerebral ischemia monitoring by probing the superior sagittal sinus (SSS), a large central cerebral vein. We developed and built a multi-wavelength, near-infrared optoacoustic system suitable for noninvasive monitoring of cerebral ischemia in newborns with normal weight (NBW), low birth-weight (LBW, 1500 - 2499 g) and very low birth-weight (VLBW, < 1500 g). The system was capable of detecting SSS signals through the open anterior and posterior fontanelles as well as through the skull. We tested the system in NBW, LBW, and VLBW newborns (weight range: from 675 g to 3,000 g) admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. We performed single and continuous measurements of the SSS blood oxygenation. The data acquisition, processing and analysis software developed by our group provided real-time, absolute SSS blood oxygenation measurements. The SSS blood oxygenation ranged from 60% to 80%. Optoacoustic monitoring of the SSS blood oxygenation provides valuable information because adequate cerebral oxygenation would suggest that no therapy was necessary; conversely, evidence of cerebral ischemia would prompt therapy to increase cerebral blood flow.