A Comprehensive Guide About Setting Up an At-Home NICU

At-Home NICU

While your premature infant is still in the hospital, you may be confused and stressed as a new parent about what to do and how to cope. You’re ecstatic about the newest member of your family, but you can’t room in, nurse, or even hold your baby for more than a few minutes at a time. Complex machinery and devices are used in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) to meet the special needs of tiny neonates. A new parent may find the NICU overwhelming. Knowing what to expect in the NICU can help to calm your nerves. However, if you want to set up an at-home NICU, here are some things worth knowing:

The NICU Constituents

Below given are the most common devices used in a NICU to set At-Home NICU:

Monitor for The Heart or Cardiorespiratory System

On a screen, this monitor shows a baby’s heart and breathing rates and patterns. The monitor’s wires adhere to the baby’s chest and abdomen with adhesive patches.

Blood Pressure Monitor

An infant blood pressure cuff is wrapped around the baby’s upper arm or leg to measure blood pressure. A blood pressure monitor pumps up the cuff and checks the amount of blood pressure regularly. Some babies need to have their blood pressure checked regularly. A tiny tube (catheter) can be inserted into one of the baby’s arteries to do this.

Temperature Probe

 An adhesive patch is used to implant a temperature probe on the baby’s skin. To help adjust the heat needed to keep the infant warm, a wire links the temperature probe to the overhead warmer (incubator).

Pulse Oximeter 

It is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. Through the skin, this equipment detects the amount of oxygen in the baby’s blood. The baby’s foot or hand is taped with a small light. A wire connects the light to the monitor, which shows the oxygen saturation, or “sat.” This refers to the amount of oxygen-saturated hemoglobin in the baby’s red blood cells.


In the NICU, portable X-ray machines can be transported to the baby’s bedside. Internal tissues, bones, and organs are imaged on film using invisible electromagnetic radiation beams. X-rays are used for various reasons, including ensuring that catheters and other tubes are properly placed, detecting indicators of lung difficulties such as respiratory distress syndrome or pneumothorax, and detecting signs of bowel disorders.

CT scan 

A CT scan provides detailed images of the bones, muscles, fat, and organs in any body section. A CT scan is performed in a dedicated room, and the baby may require sedation to remain immobile during the procedure.

A Nasogastric Tube (Ng Tube) Or An Orogastric Tube (Og Tube)

These tubes are inserted into the stomach of the newborn through the nose or mouth. A special tape is used to keep the tube in place. The tube’s position is checked using an X-ray. When babies in the NICU are unable to feed themselves, they are fed through these tubes.

An Endotracheal Tube (ET)

It is a tube that connects the trachea (ET). This tube is inserted into the windpipe of the newborn through the mouth or nose (trachea). The ET tube is attached to a mechanical breathing machine (ventilator) by flexible tubing and secured with specific tape. 

The tube’s position is checked using an X-ray. When a newborn is fitted with an ET tube, they are unable to speak or cry.


A respirator or a mechanical ventilator is a device that helps you breathe. This machine assists babies who cannot breathe on their own or who require assistance in taking larger breaths. To keep a baby’s airways open, high-frequency ventilators provide hundreds of very quick puffs of air. Ventilators can also help the baby get more oxygen.


It stands for continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This machine forces a continuous flow of air into the airways using little tubes that fit into the baby’s nostrils, known as nasal CPAP. This helps keep tiny air passageways in the lungs open. CPAP can also provide additional oxygen. It can also be administered via an ET tube.

Lastly, What Moms Can Do 

Pumping breast milk is one component of NICU care that only the mother is capable of providing. Pumping every few hours is critical for establishing and maintaining your milk production. This can be a powerful bonding experience if you have a picture of your baby nearby, especially if your infant can’t breastfeed at first.

Keep milk containers labeled with your baby’s name, date, and time pumped from home and hand them over to staff, which will store them in a dedicated refrigerator or freezer for later use. 

Most hospitals provide professional-grade pumps that you can use for free or for a small rental cost while your baby is in the NICU, but it is more necessary to maintain hygiene when setting up an at-home NICU.


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