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Your Child’s Surgery

How Do I Prepare My Baby?

Talking with Children  
Surgery is often more stressful for parents than it is for the babies. 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:

  • Plan to have at least one parent or someone your child knows be with them as much as possible during your hospital stay.
  • Talk to your baby in a calm, soothing voice to help them feel comfortable when healthcare providers care for your baby. Soothe your baby by talking softly, singing, gentle rocking, playing soft music, smiling, and giving lots of cuddles.
  • Don’t give your baby anything to eat or drink before surgery to help keep them safe during surgery. This can be very hard and your baby will likely be upset or cranky.
  • Bring their favourite items from home such as toy or blanket to help comfort them.
  • Bring their favourite sippy cup, bottle, or other item for after the surgery.
  • Be patient with your baby. It’s normal for babies to be fussy, clingy, and cry more when they are out of their routine.
  • Play games such as "peek-a-boo", to help your baby learn that even when they can’t see you, you are still there. This can help prepare your baby when you are separated during surgery.
  • Take care of yourself by eating right and getting lots of sleep before surgery. Seek the support of family or friends to help with other children. Babies often don’t like changes to their routine. Try to keep your baby's routine at home as normal as possible before and after surgery. Let us know your baby's usual sleeping and eating habits.
  • When it's time for surgery, babies may cry as they separate from their parents. They will be comforted by staff and turn their attention to other things. ​​​​

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