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Mended Little HeartGuide

Introduction Contents SECTION Preparing for Birth After receiving a prenatal diagnosis of CHD, parents may feel overwhelmed when preparing for their child’s birth. In addition to the regular preparation activities, there are unique considerations for parents who are expecting a baby with heart problems. Familiarizing yourself with the hospital where your baby will have surgery will help you feel more comfortable when you get there, and speaking with the medical professionals who will treat your child can help answer many of your questions. In addition, making plans ahead of time to address the needs of siblings, manage work responsibilities and understand the resources available to you and your child can help minimize your stress after your child’s birth. Here are some things to do before delivery: The Hospital Ask for a tour of the hospital and unit(s) where your baby will receive care. This will help you familiarize yourself with the resources that will be available for you and your baby after delivery. You will also be able to better anticipate what you’ll need to bring to the hospital. During the tour, you may want to ask about: • Sleeping arrangements for parents and families: Discuss the hospital’s policies on visitation and overnight stays by parents. Although many hospitals now allow (and welcome!) parents to stay overnight with their baby, this is not the case in every hospital. • Hospital visitors: Most hospitals have policies regarding sibling and non-family member visitation. Familiarize yourself with these policies before your baby arrives so that you can prepare your family members and friends. • What to bring to the hospital: Speak with your About My Child’s Heart Table of social worker or nurse about what to bring to the hospital. Pack two bags: one for you and one for the baby. Hospital policies vary regarding what is provided and what you can bring so find out what is acceptable ahead of time. Common items to include for your baby are booties, mittens, front-snap onesies, small stuffed animals and family photos. For parents, consider comfortable clothing, shower shoes, toiletries, nursing bras, phone chargers, a journal and a good book. (You may also find the Packing List in this Mended Little HeartGuide helpful.) The Medical Team Ask your cardiologist if it is possible to meet with the team who will be managing your baby’s care after delivery. This team may include the surgeon, cardiologist, nurse practitioner, social worker and nutritionist. Identify a pediatrician who will provide routine care once your baby is home from the hospital. Your child’s pediatrician will work with his or her cardiologist to manage your child’s unique needs. Siblings Spend time preparing siblings for the arrival of the newest family member and for your time away from home. Think strategically with your partner, family members and friends about how to ensure that your newborn’s siblings do not feel left out. Go To 42


Mended Little HeartGuide
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