Advanced Equipment

Equipment plays an important role in caring for your baby. The amount of equipment used in the NICU may seem overwhelming. We hope the following explanations will put you at ease.

arrow   Baby Beds  
  Radiant Warmers, Isolettes, and Giraffes
arrow Medical Equipment
  Cardiorespiratory Monitors, Pulse Oximeters, and Bili lights/Phototherapy/Biliblankets
arrow IV Fluids
  UAC/UVC, IV Pump, and PIV
arrow Feeding Methods
  Tube Feedings, Oral Feedings, and Breastfeeding


Baby Beds

  • Radiant Warmers - On admission to the NICU, most babies are placed in an open bed with overhead heaters. A probe is taped to the baby's skin to tell the warmers how much heat is needed to keep the baby's temperature stable. This open bed makes it easier for the doctors and nurses to care for your baby.
  • Isolette - Your baby may be put in an isolette, formerly called an incubator. This is an enclosed, heated bed that provides a quiet environment and allows the baby to get some much needed rest. A temperature probe may or may not be used to regulate the heat inside the isolette. Before discharge, the isolette temperature will gradually be lowered to prepare the infant for an open crib.
  • Giraffe - This specialized bed, which is a combination of a radiant warmer and an isolette, is reserved for our smallest patients. It allows the staff quick access to the baby while also providing a quiet, enclosed environment for rest.

Medical Equipment

  • Cardiorespiratory Monitor - Upon NICU admission, we will place three sticky patches (called electrodes) on the baby's chest. The attached wires will connect to a machine that records the baby's heart rate and breathing rate. There are built-in alarms that sound if either of these rates are too fast or too slow.
  • Pulse Oximeter - This measures the concentration of oxygen in the baby's blood. A small red light is enclosed in tape and secured to your baby's hand or foot. The location of the pulse oximeter is changed every shift. The red light will not harm or burn your baby's skin.
  • Bili lights/Phototherapy/Biliblanket - Premature infants often have jaundice, a condition that makes the skin appear yellow. Babies with jaundice are treated with phototherapy, also called bili lights. These lights are placed over your baby's warmer or isolette. Because the lights are so bright, special sunglasses (eye patches) are used to protect your baby's eyes. Your baby may have a biliblanket in addition to, or instead of, bili lights. The blanket provides lighting to treat jaundice but does not require your baby to wear the "sunglasses."

IV Fluids

  • UAC/UVC - This is a plastic tube inserted in an artery (UAC) or a vein (UVC) in the baby's umbilical cord to provide fluids. The tube also allows the staff to monitor the baby's blood pressure and remove blood for tests.
  • IV Pump - This machine is attached to your baby's IV (intravenous) tubing. It provides a small amount of IV fluid to your baby every hour. Your baby may have more than one IV pump around the bed.
  • PIV - Babies who are born prematurely or are sick cannot breast or bottle feed right away. These babies need to be nourished through a vein. This is called a peripheral IV (PIV). A small plastic tube (called a catheter) is inserted into a vein in the hand, arm, foot or head. It is secured with tape to a board so the IV cannot be pulled out.

Feeding Methods

  • Tube Feedings - The transition from IV therapy to full oral feedings is made gradually and carefully. First, a tube is placed into the nose (NG) or mouth (OG) down to the stomach. The tube is taped into place. The baby can be fed continuously where the formula is pumped through the tube at a certain rate, or the entire feeding can be given at one time, usually every three hours.
  • Oral Feedings - When the baby is able to coordinate sucking, swallowing and breathing, nipple feedings may begin.
  • Breastfeeding - If you plan to breastfeed your baby, you can express and store your breast milk. Great Beginnings Lactation Boutique has breast pumps available for your home use while your baby is in the hospital. Ask you baby's nurse for details. Our NICU also has a freezer and refrigerator for your breast milk storage.
Safe Sitter Essentials with CPR
A class to prepare kids in grades 6-8 to be safe in unsupervised settings whether home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting.
Safe Sitter Essentials with CPR
A class to prepare kids in grades 6-8 to be safe in unsupervised settings whether home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting.