When your baby arrives on the Neonatal Unit, staff will assess your baby’s requirements, which includes which type of cot your baby would be best nursed in. There are three cot types – a closed incubator, a babytherm, and a traditional baby bassinette cot.
Incubators are similar to a greenhouse. Their purpose is to keep your baby warm whilst enabling the Neonatal staff full view of your baby. Incubators have temperature and humidity settings, which can be adjusted to meet the needs of your baby. Access to the incubators is via portholes on the side. This prevents the incubator temperature from varying and stops your baby getting cold. Parents are encouraged to touch and attend to their babies needs through these, and talk to your baby as well. Some premature babies may be in an incubator for months. The Neonatal staff will help you to get used to nursing your baby whilst in a closed incubator.
Babytherms are large cots.They are used when your baby is too big for an incubator but requires more room for observation than a traditional cot. The babytherms have an overhead heater and a heated mattress to keep your baby warm.
Traditional baby cots are similar to those used in the maternity unit. Some babies will be nursed in cots from admission, others will progress into a cot when they are ready. This is a massive but exciting step for many parents who have nursed their babies in incubators for weeks or months. Sometimes when your baby makes the transition from incubator to cot they require a hot mattress to help maintain their temperature. This mattress temperature can be regulated to your baby’s needs.