Hospitalization of your child can be a strange and frightening situation. Anxiety is often elevated and you may not be able to care for your infant as you are accustomed. These page was created to offer suggestions about how to actively care for your baby as much as possible during hospitalization, whether or not you are able to be present.
Ideas to help you care for you baby during hospitalization:
- Let your babies nurse know you would like to be as actively involved in his/her care as possible. Some examples include: assisting the nurse when he/she is changing your child's diaper or bed linens, or assisting with bathing and feeding.
- Talk, sing or read to your child as often as possible.
- Use positive touch with your child to let him/her feel your presence.
- Play for and with your child as much as possible. Some examples include: blowing bubbles and manipulating toys.
Ways to make your child's environment more pleasing (Please consult your child's nurse before bringing items from home):
- Decorate your child's room/space with items your infant enjoys.
- Hang mobiles above your child's bed for interest.
- Bring familiar items from home. Some examples include: bumper pads, toys and stuffed animals.
- Hang pictures of family and/or important people in your child's life.
- Play soothing music in the background to relax your child.
If you can not be present:
- Record your voice or other familiar sounds in your child's life. Ideas for things to record include: singing, talking, and reading stories to your child.
- Post signs informing caregivers of your child's likes and dislikes. Some examples include: "When I get upset please try to soothe me by _____________." or "I really like when you ______________."
- Post signs informing caregivers of routines you and your child often follow. For example: "Please change me before you feed me." or, "At home, my mom plays music for me while she feeds me."
When and infant is hospitalized, he/she may exhibit changes in behavior. Some changes include:
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Clinging to parents
- Separation Anxiety
- Wanting to be held more than normal
- Not wanting to be held
- Sensitivities to light, temperature or touch
- Increased crying
- Stranger anxiety
- Decreased appetite
Every infant is unique, so he or she may exhibit some, all or none of the above behavior changes.
Several of our Child Life Specialists are also Certified Infant Massage Instructors (CIMI©) and/or trained as Happiest Baby on the Block educators. Please contact your Child Life Specialist for more information.