When your baby becomes ill, the rest of the family faces a tough time ahead. It gets even tougher when that little one has to make a stay at the local hospital. Panic begins to set in more at the thought the baby has to be away from the family and surrounded by doctors and nurses who are strangers to him or her.
The reason why some parents might be concerned is because a baby can develop one of multiple psychological problems because of various factors, including illness and the isolation from family. It happens to adults when they have to make a hospital stay, so imagine that stress being multiplied for a baby. It’s no secret that they have a lot to deal with on top of being sick; an unfamiliar environment and not having mom or dad nearby can be scary.
While there are a lot of traumatizing factors that will weigh on your mind, it’s going to be okay because there are things you can do to help be there to support your baby. It all starts with being able to help the child adapt in his or her way. First, consider whether this is the first time your baby is having to stay in the hospital and what type of illness he or she is dealing with.
Other factors to keep in mind include age and previous separation experience.
The process of adaptation can take a few days, but less than a week. Anxiety should not be a factor when the baby is usually carefree during the first few days at the hospital. But having a longer period of time might become more worrisome if your child starts to be vocal in wanting to go home; and if you have to leave him or her for the night, the baby might feel you have abandoned him or her.
Among the tips that experts suggest to parents is to now cause your child to be frightened at the hospital because it could cause bigger problems in the future that your child will associate with hospitals altogether. That means not talking about how doctors aren’t understanding or anything negative about the medical staff that is trying to help your child.
Regardless, it’s best to attempt to reduce the stress your child has by trying to keep the baby calm, cool and collected. Try to maintain being active around them so that they don’t feel lonely. If you are planning on having to take your baby to the hospital, make an attempt to spend a day or two to properly prepare and let your child be involved in the planning.
Maintain optimistic views no matter what your child is being seen by doctors for. It will help them believe that everything is going to be alright; which goes back to avoiding negative comments you might have for the hospital staff. Try helping by using words of affirmation with hospital like help and recovery. You want confidence to be passed down to your son or daughter, so tell them you are there ready to help whenever they needs.
When separation takes place, don’t show too much emotion and try to behave calm so that your child doesn’t view a trip to the hospital as a form of punishment; but rather as a place of healing so he or she can get back to playing like they normally would. This will aid in building that positive attitude that will also become contagious for your child to trust the doctor in what he is doing. It is also good to talk with your child about how important seeing a doctor really is.
In addition to that, make sure your child doesn’t feel guilty about being sick. It would only increase that fear of going to the hospital and make them feel that they are just a burden to everyone else. It’s one thing when a child makes a mistake that leads to a sickness or injury, but consider this a chance for them to learn how to act properly the next time around – a lesson in the world of causes and effects.
Always maintain regular visits with your child so that they will have something to look forward to during their extended hospital visit. It’s best that they know there is something good coming, especially during a particularly tough day at the hospital. But there has to be a balance in not visiting too much to overload a baby’s emotions.
But no matter what, do not talk about the disease much around your child. Focus more on happier subjects like how your child is making new friends at the hospital, or what he has done in between treatments. Focus more on your son’s well-being in terms of his attitude and don’t reflect much on what is causing him to be there in the first place. Good attitude and positive vibes can sometimes be the best medicine for a depressed youth.
If your child is bored and lonely, bring books and toys for him to enjoy during those long waiting periods in between seeing the doctor and seeing you. Another tip is to bring a stuffed animal for the child to consider his new best friend who will guard him and be there during the difficult times he could face during his extended hospital visit.
When your child is released, it will be good to talk about what he learned and how he understands what went on and how he was able to connect with the people working at the hospital. Help him find value in this experience.