While your infant or toddler is at Sutter Children’s Center, Sacramento, you are encouraged to stay with your child as much as you can. Your presence will help your child feel as secure as possible in this new environment. We offer a recliner or sleep chair so that one parent can stay throughout the night at the bedside. While you are here with your child, you can continue to care for him or her as much as you like (bathing, feeding, etc.) If you are unable to stay, please give your nurse information about your child, including routines, comfort preferences and likes and dislikes. Also, bring familiar items from home, such as blankets, pillows, stuffed animals or favorite toys. This will help us give your child the best care and make the hospital environment as comfortable as possible.
Because it is difficult for infants and toddlers to express their feelings clearly, your child may cry and direct his or her anger towards you while in the hospital. If you are not able to stay all day, it can be upsetting to have your child cry the minute you return. This does not mean that you are upsetting your child. You are probably the only person who can make him or her feel comfortable and secure right now. If you need to leave, it can be helpful to leave something of yours, such as a piece of clothing, with your child.
You will probably notice that your infant or toddler's behavior will regress in the hospital. For example, children who have recently learned to walk may temporarily go back to crawling. With time, they will regain any lost skills. Your toddler may refuse to eat and may have more tantrums than usual. These are typical responses to hospitalization and are quite normal in this stressful and unfamiliar environment. Please feel free to discuss these behaviors further with a Child Life Specialist.
Your child's level of comfort during hospitalization will be related to your own level of comfort. It is important to prepare yourself in advance, making sure that your questions are answered, that you know what to expect, and that you take care of yourself during your child's hospitalization. This will, in turn, help you to help your child.
For more information, or to schedule a pre-admission tour and preparation, call the Child Life Program at (916) 887-0500.