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Your Child’s Surgery

How do I prepare my baby?

Talking with Children  

Surgery is often more stressful for you as the parent than it is for your baby. Ask lots of questions. Knowing what to expect can help lessen your fears. Your baby can sense if you feel anxious or nervous so try to remain calm and positive.

Babies may find the following stressful:

  • not being with their parents
  • changes to their routine​
  • being around people they don’t know
  • not being able to eat when they want
  • being in strange places with new sights, sounds, and smells

To prepare your baby for surgery

Before surgery

  • Follow the instructions carefully about when to stop giving your baby anything to eat or drink. This helps keep your baby safe during surgery. This can be very hard and your baby will likely be upset or cranky but this is very important.
  • Soothe your baby by talking softly, singing, gentle rocking, playing soft music, smiling, and giving lots of cuddles.
  • Play games such as "peek-a-boo" with your baby to help them learn that you’re still there even when they can’t see you. This can help your baby when you’re separated during surgery.
  • Try to keep your baby's routine at home as normal as possible before and after surgery. It’s normal for your baby to be fussy, clingy, and cry more when they are out of their routine. Be patient with them.
  • Take care of yourself before the surgery too. Get lots of sleep and eat good foods. If you have other children, ask family or friends to help you care for them.

During surgery and the hospital stay

  • When it's time for surgery, your baby may cry when they’re separated from you. Staff will comfort them and turn their attention to other things.
  • Plan to have at least 1 parent, or someone your child knows well, to be with them as much as possible during their hospital stay.
  • Bring your baby’s favourite items from home such as a toy or blanket to help comfort them.
  • Bring their favourite sippy cup, bottle, or other item for after the surgery.
  • When healthcare providers care for your baby, talk to your baby in a calm, soothing voice to help them feel comfortable.​

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