Braving hospital as a parent

Eleanor Douglas-Meyers is a crafty mom from Uitenhage who writes about DIY, parenting, natural hair care, fashion, food and fun on her blog

The sad truth is most parents end up in hospital with their kids at one point or another.

Some kids are lucky enough to make it through their whole lives without an overnight stay (like me) and others can be greeted by their first names by hospital staff (like my son).

Here are some tips I’ve picked up from staying in hospital with my little one:

  • When you think you have enough sets of PJs . . . pack another. I have come to find that bodily fluids and hospitals are a notorious pairing.
  • Take activities/toys along. . . I’m lucky in that I like making busy bags so am able to grab a bag of quiet toys and go.
If you are not much of a “maker”, keeping store-bought puzzles, crayons and play dough in a bag is a good idea for quick visits to a restaurant, relatives or (hopefully not needed) the hospital.
  • Bring something familiar from the tot’s room. For Aidan that’s his “banky” – a chocolate brown faux fur blanket he has claimed as his own and which has taken the place of something you’d expect to be baby blue and covered in airplanes.
  • Mom and Dad if you are staying over be ready to fend for yourself.
Bring your own food and blankets and find a visitor-friendly bathroom. In most hospitals you will be lucky to get a cup of tea and a chair.
  • Try not to be offended if nurses seem cold.
If they are rude (like a certain radiographer who was trying for the most unhelpful award on our last visit – she totally won by the way) then I believe you can be upset.

However, if they are just a little cold try to remember they are overworked and although your angel is definitely YOUR first priority they have quite a few patients to deal with, often needing more assistance than you do.

Goodness help me, I’m still working on this one as I’m not a fan of people talking down to me or being cold or rough towards my kid.

Put them together and let’s just say I’ve done a lot of “calm breathing”.

  • Be prepared for acting out. Aidan threw crayons and an apple on the floor, he also cried because he is in a blue bed and wanted a red one.
On the last visit, I noticed him resist the urge to hit me, he ended up just squeezing my face or arm really tight or pushing me.

Being in hospital is overwhelming so be understanding and maybe leave the naughty corner for home.

  • Be ready to explain things such as: Why can’t I go home? Why can’t I watch my favourite shows? Why is the kid next door still scream crying after five hours? (well, that last question might be from me).
  • Remember that the chances are they will hurt your baby. Drips, tests and needles are not fun and will bring on tears, and not just for the parents.
  • Know what you are entitled to, and don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Be polite – a please and thank you go a long way.
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