This is a list of the machines and equipment that is used to sustain your baby's life.  Many of these machines have alarms to alert the nurses and doctors when a change has occurred, either with the machine or with the baby.  An alarm does not necessarily mean that your baby is in immediate danger.  

Ventilator - This machine delivers a mixture of oxygen and air via a tube inserted through the mouth into the lungs.   There are two types of ventilators.  The first inflates and deflates the lungs fully with each breath.  The second kind is called an High Frequency Oscillating Ventilator (HFOV).  It blows 600 tiny puffs every minute.  This keeps the lungs open and inflated and allows the baby to breath on his own without having to fight the ventilator.

Other forms of oxygen assistance

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) - The baby breathes on his own and the CPAP delivers pressurized oxygen to the lungs through the nose to keep the lungs from collapsing.

Oxygen Cannula - The cannula is a soft plastic tube with prongs that fit into the baby's nostrils.  This is used when the baby's lungs are mature enough to breathe on their own but additional oxygen is still needed.  Many preemies go home with a cannula.

Oxygen Hood/Oxygen in an incubator - Supplemental oxygen is given to babies breathing well on their own through tubing to the hood or incubator.  When the baby is removed from the hood/incubator the tubing can be disconnected and placed in front of the baby's nose.

Warmer Bed - This is a bed that is below a heater to help regulate the baby's temperature.  Babies who need a lot of care and handling are placed on this, rather than in an Isolette, as it is easier to access the baby.

Isolette/Incubator - An enclosed bed for the purpose of temperature and oxygen regulation.  An Isolette generally has portholes in the sides through which the baby is cared for.

Intravenous Line - An IV is inserted into a vein in the foot, hand or scalp.  The baby receives medicine, fluids and Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) through this.

Umbilical Line - The Umbilical Arterial Catheter (UAC) is a line that is inserted into an  artery through the belly button.  Blood for tests is drawn from this line, eliminating the heel stick.  The baby's blood pressure may also be taken through this line.

Cardiorespiratory Monitor - Sensors (usually 3) placed on the baby's chest transmit the heart rate and the rate of respiration to the Cardiorespiratory Monitor.

Oxygen Saturation Monitor - This monitors the amount of oxygen in the blood.  A sensor (red light) is attached to the baby's hand or foot.


This is a list of people that you will find caring for you and your baby in the NICU.

Neonatologist -


Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Registered Nurse

Respiratory Therapist

Social Worker

Lactation Consultant