Tips for Hospitalized Infants
Play in the hospital makes the hospital environment less scary and more child-friendly. It also encourages children and adolescents to focus on activity, rather than on their illness.
At WakeMed, we know children and adolescents are constantly learning and developing.
Engaging in activities and socializing with others helps the growth and development process continue while in the hospital.
Always remember, Child Life Specialists are trained in teaching children and adolescents about medical procedures and helping them cope. They are a resource for you and your family.
Play for infants:
- Soft music, singing and rocking
- Looking into mirrors and at faces
- Soft toys, rattles, and toys that light up and make music
- Shaking items as well as throwing them
- Infants can show pleasure and pain by making noises
- Infants are sleeping on and off between feedings and 4-6 hours at night
- Talking to infants and moving their arms and legs helps promote development
Common stressors and fears of infants in the hospital:
- Separation from caregiver
- Over or under stimulation
- Disrupted routine
What you can do to help while your infant is in the hospital:
- Be present and participate in your infant's care as much as possible
- Bring favorite items from home (blanket, pacifier, etc.)
- Avoid keeping bright lights on in the room
- Allow for ways to have "play time"
- Try to maintain a routine for eating and sleeping
- Allow them to suck on their pacifier or hand, including during procedures. Sucking is a way for infants to soothe themselves.
- Remain calm and relaxed whenever possible. Infants can feel tension in our bodies and respond to it by becoming stressed.