Preparing Your Infant for the Hospital
Being sick and having to stay in the hospital is very hard for children of all ages. For babies under the age of six months, being in the hospital is a change from the normal family routine. Generally, children aged six months and older show the most reactions to these new experiences. Although your infant will not understand about staying in the hospital, babies are very sensitive to new places, new people and stressful experiences. When parents are anxious, their baby may be fussier and more irritable than normal. It is very important for parents to know what to expect so they can best care for and support their infant.
How to help your baby during the hospital stay:
- One parent should try to be with their baby as much as possible. Familiar people are important and separations may be upsetting. You are welcome to stay overnight with your child if staying on a regular hospital unit. Your child will be comforted by having you nearby.
- Bring your baby's familiar stuffed animal, blanket, and other security item from home. This can stay with your child in the crib.
- Encourage the use of self-comfort behaviors at home, such as pacifier or sucking on hands. This helps the infant to learn how to self-calm and can be a coping measure in the hospital.
- Pack your infant's favorite toys so they can play with items they recognize.
- Soothing lullabies and music from home may help your child to calm and relax.
Write down your child's daily routine (nap time, bathing, eating). This can be incorporated in the hospital routine as much as possible to maintain consistency.