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Preparing the Infant for Surgery

Preparing the Infant for Surgery

Photo of infant's foot

What part about surgery is most stressful for an infant?

Infants are too young to benefit from preoperative planning, education, and explanations. However, recognizing what is stressful to infants can guide you in planning for your baby's surgery. Things that are stressful to infants in the hospital may include the following:

  • Separation from parents

  • Having many different caregivers

  • Seeing strange sights, sounds, and smells

  • New and different routines

  • Interrupted sleep

  • Day and night confusion

How do I prepare my infant for surgery?

  • It is important to keep your baby's routine the same before the day of surgery.

  • Make sure you, your baby, and your family are well-rested.

  • Bring your baby's favorite security item and perhaps some soothing music to the hospital. This will help create a more familiar environment for your baby. You may make a tape of your voice reading or singing for the nursing staff to play when you are not there.

  • Let the nursing staff know what your baby's usual schedule is, including sleep patterns and feeding habits.

  • Make plans for at least one parent to be with your baby as much as possible so that he or she will have familiar touch, voice, and smile.

  • The most important part about preparing your infant for surgery is for you to try to remain calm. Your baby will sense if you are frightened or stressed. Be well-informed about what to expect on the day of surgery and ask questions to alleviate any fears you might have. Relaxed, nonverbal communication, such as voice, facial expressions, gestures, and body language can give positive assurance to your baby.

  • Be patient with your baby. It is normal for him or her to cry and be fussy during this stressful time. He or she may be very clingy and become hard to comfort and console. Give a lot of love, and let your baby know that you will be nearby.

  • The brief period before surgery when the baby cannot eat or drink can be difficult. Plan to distract, rock, walk, and comfort him or her during this time.

  • Remember, too, to take care of yourself. Simplify your life during this time and do not be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. Remaining positive and calm can help reduce your baby's anxiety.

Reviewed Date: 11-04-2014

Preparación del Bebé para la Cirugía
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Pediatric Surgery
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Dr. M. Ann Kuhn
Dr. Michele Lombardo
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Children's Urology
Dr. Charles Horton Jr.
Dr. Jyoti Upadhyay
Dr. Louis Wojcik
Health Tips
How to Bathe Your Baby
Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome
Taking Baby's Temperature
Tips to Lower Toddlers’ Choking Risks
Diseases & Conditions
AIDS/HIV in Children
Airway Obstruction Overview
Breast Milk Collection and Storage
Breast Milk Expression
Breastfeeding Difficulties - Baby
Breastfeeding Difficulties - Mother
Breastfeeding Your Baby
Clubfoot
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Male Conditions
Myasthenia Gravis in Children
Online Resources - The Child Having Surgery
Preoperative Visit with the Surgeon
Preparing a Child for Surgery
Preparing Siblings for Surgery
Preparing the Preschooler for Surgery
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Preparing the Teenager for Surgery
Preparing the Toddler for Surgery
Surgery and the Breastfeeding Infant
Surgical Overview
The Day of Surgery
The Growing Child: 1 to 3 Months
The Growing Child: 10 to 12 Months
The Growing Child: 1-Year-Olds
The Growing Child: 4 to 6 Months
The Growing Child: 7 to 9 Months
The Hospital Setting
The Surgical Team for Children
Thrush
Types of Surgery for Children
Types of Surgery for Children

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.