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What is all the equipment for?

Whilst your baby is on the unit you will encounter many different types of equipment used to help us look after the babies.  These are just some of them:


  • Incubator


This is a clear plastic covered cot, which provides an electronically controlled environment of warmth and humidity, whilst at the same time allowing us to see your baby easily.  You can touch your baby through the doors.

Once your baby is well enough and big enough, they will be moved into an uncovered cot. This could be after a few days or it could take several weeks.


  • Monitoring equipment 


We have many, sometimes noisy, machines on the unit that can be quite frightening.  These monitors are used to record your baby's heart and breathing rates, blood pressure and temperature.

Some of the monitors will measure how much oxygen is in your baby's blood. Quite often alarms will ring out when the monitor wishes to alert the member of staff to a particular reading. This does not always mean that something is wrong.  It may be that your baby has just moved or is wriggling and this can interfere with the readings.

The nurse looking after your baby will explain what each number on the monitor means. Please do not touch any of the alarms yourself. If you are worried please tell a member of staff.


  • Ventilator

A ventilator will breathe for your baby when they are too small or ill to breathe properly for themselves. A mixture of air and oxygen is blown through a tube going into your baby's mouth, down the windpipe and into their lungs to inflate them, just as if they had taken a normal breath.


  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Driver

CPAP drivers are special machines that help support your baby's breathing.  Your baby will do all the breathing for itself, but the CPAP driver helps by keeping your baby's lungs slightly inflated.  The machine does this by blowing a mixture of air and oxygen through a tube attached to two soft plastic prongs or a mask that are put into your baby's nostrils.




  • Phototherapy Lights

Light therapy

Babies who are born too early, or who are poorly, quite often develop a condition called jaundice and their skin can turn a yellow colour. It does not always need to be treated but when it does we use a phototherapy light. This is a bright blue light, which is placed over your baby's incubator or cot.


  • Intravenous pumps

Often babies are too small or too poorly to be fed with milk.  They are given all the calories they need with special fluids that are given to the baby directly by a needle that goes into the veins on the baby's legs or arms.  Special pumps administer these fluids.  These pumps are specially made for babies and can give the exact amount of fluids that your baby requires.