How to prepare for a hospital stay with your child.

Since Noah’s arrival, for a time hospitals became like a second home for us.

Between out patient, scheduled and emergency in-patient stays I actually nearly became nose blind to the smell of the place, which to be honest I thought would be nearly impossible.

At the beginning I was such a novice when it came to hospitals, the workings of them and what would make a stay in them somewhat more comfortable, I thought a blog might be helpful to those who might not have as much experience as us in hospitals.

I hope these tips will make you and your child’s stay somewhat more comfortable and more importantly you won’t be there for too long.2017-07-10 08.29.00

The fish tank in Crumlin Childrens Hospital

1. Clothes – Bring plenty of comfortable clothes, mainly light/loose clothing. Hospitals are usually very warm and stuffy so you’ll want to be able to stay cool. I have found that if I’m in the hospital all day with Noah it’s nice sometimes to be able to change my t-shirt/socks even during the day. You can never bring too much underwear and socks I found and also don’t forget pjs and slippers for during the night.

2. Toiletries-  Deodorant top of the list (roll on is best so that you can top it up during the day without the fumes in the room) as I said hospitals are stuffy and warm perspiration unfortunately is most likely, it’s best to bring travel size bottles of shampoo/shower gel etc as you won’t have much storage room. Baby wipes what more do I need to say they are invaluable.

3. Towels- If you can’t get home for a shower and need to have a shower in the hospital you will need to bring your own towels. Flip flops aswell if you are a strange one like me that hates bare feet on public showers. I swear a shower in the morning after a sweaty night in a ward/room will make all the difference that day.

4. Entertainment – really this is everything you can think off, for both you and the child. You really can’t have enough to keep you busy but keep it small. As is said above storage will be tight especially if you are in a multi bed ward. Books, tablets and Lego are brilliant. There will be a play coordinator who would have puzzles etc but they are only available for certain hours in the day.

5. Move – if your child isn’t confined to their bed then moving and going for a walk is vital. Not only does it do the mind good but it gives you a chance to get some exercise. What I found is you also get to meet other parents and maybe strike up a conversation which can really break up the day. It is worth even asking the doctors if its possible for you and your child to have a quick walk outside the fresh air will do you both the world of good.

6. Me time – if you have support but are like me and don’t want to leave your child for  too long ie go home for the night etc it’s still important to at least get an hour or two to yourself during the day. I can remember years ago a nurse practically begging me to go away and get a coffee because she knew I needed the break needless to say I didn’t listen to her then but I now see the importance.

7. Other Useful Items – Unfortunately when you are in hospital with your child the only person with a bed is your child, so it’s usually an uncomfortable chair bed or fold out mattress on the floor that are your only options. I would highly suggest bringing your own pillow and blanket for a more comfortable night.

**(I’ve really been trying to think if there are any other more comfortable solutions that we could bring into hospitals but really the best situation is that they make the wards/rooms more modern with built-in beds for parents).

In a normal situation coffee/tea is vital to start the day and this can’t be underestimated when you are in hospital. Now unfortunately with babies and toddlers you will not be allowed bring hot drinks into the room or even into multiple bed wards with small children.

However there is always a parent room where you can make your own tea and coffee, the children aren’t allowed in these rooms but if your child is asleep or you have visitors then it is the perfect time to get a cuppa.

For those with older children a travel cup is a lifesaver!

Another very important item is dry foods. Staying in hospitals can be expensive i.e eating out, coffees etc so I would suggest bringing some dry foods and if you are going to be in the hospital for an extended period of time there is usually a fridge in the parents room that you can use for any perishable items.

Some dry foods I would suggest are packets of biscuits, crackers, cuppa soups, non perishable breads like brioche rolls, its important to remember especially if you are in a ward that there are other children who are sick so try not to bring strong-smelling items to the ward with you.

8.Other Tips- If you are in a room of your own, make sure and open the windows there is nothing like fresh air, its one of the first things I do when we get the hospital room but please note this is only if you are in a private room.

Bring a notepad and paper, its handy if you think of any questions to ask the consultants/doctors when they come around because often times there will be a few consultants and students that will come in together so it can be overwhelming.

You may at times be approached by student doctors who might want to ask you a few questions about your child and their history. You are not obliged to do this, but please remember they are trying to learn so if you can answer their questions.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. You know your child best so if you are not happy with something be it the room, your childs care, think that you want the nurse to get a doctor or you have questions you want answered then speak up, you are your childs advocate and the nurses and doctors are only human aswell.

Trust me often times they are happy to hear your views or thoughts.

But please don’t ever be rude or abusive it does no one any favours (and ive met some rude doctors in my time but I always rise above it).

I hope that you find this blog helpful, and likewise if there is anything you would like me to add, please let me know and I will be happy to do so.


I have also attached direct links to some of the childrens hospitals incase this might help.

Our Ladys Childrens Hospital Crumlin

Temple Street Childrens Hospital Dublin

Cork University Hospital – Childrens Services

HSE – Find your local health service

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