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Infants (0 - 1 year)

At this age, surgery is often more stressful for the parents than it is for the infants. Ask lots of questions, as knowing what to expect can help lessen any fears you may have. If you are anxious, your infant will be able to sense this. Try to remain calm and positive. Although infants are too young to be told, there are many things you can do to support your baby.

Infants may find the following stressful:

  • separation from parents
  • changes to their routine
  • unfamiliar people
  • feeding restrictions
  • strange surroundings - new sights, sounds and smells

To prepare your infant for surgery:

  • Separation from parents can be stressful, especially for older infants. Make plans for at least one parent to be with your child as much as possible during your hospital stay. Let the staff know what they can do to support both you and your child.
  • When it's time for surgery, infants may cry as they separate from their parents. Be assured that infants stop crying within minutes of leaving their parents. They are quickly comforted by staff and soon turn their attention to other things.
  • Play games such as "Peek-a-Boo", to help your infant learn that even when you can't be seen, you still exist. This can help prepare your infant when you are separated during surgery.
  • Infants may not welcome 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.
  • Being approached by unfamiliar people can cause anxiety and older infants may cry or want to hide. Reassure and talk to your baby as new people approach to interact with him or her.
  • The time before surgery, when your child cannot eat or drink can be difficult. Be prepared for some crankiness. Soothe your infant by talking softly, singing, gentle rocking, playing soft music, smiling and giving lots of cuddles.
  • Bring items from home such as a favourite toy or blanket for comfort and to create more familiar surroundings for your baby.
  • A special sippy cup, bottle or nipple can be brought to use after surgery.
  • Be patient with your child. It is normal for infants to be fussy, clingy and cry more during times of stress.
  • 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.
  • Day of Surgery - Photo Tour to see what to expect on the day of surgery.

Toddlers | Preschoolers | School Age Children | Teens