It might be a little scary to see your baby covered in tubes and wires, but each of these machines has a specific purpose, and knowing what it is will help you feel less intimidated. Your baby will be in either an isolette (also called an incubator) or a radiant warmer. An isolette is a plastic box with holes that allow hands to reach through. Radiant warmers are open cribs with overhead heaters. Both keep your baby's temperature stable, but the isolette adds a layer of protection against noise and germs.
On to the tubes and wires. Babies in the NICU usually have an IV to deliver fluids and medication. If you see tubes in your baby's nostrils or windpipe, he or she is connected to a ventilator to help with breathing. Little adhesive pads on the chest mean that a cardiopulmonary monitor is tracking the baby's breathing and heart rates, while a pulse oximeter measures how much oxygen is in his or her blood. There may also be a probe to monitor temperature and a cuff to check blood pressure.