Adapting to a new situation
As a parent to a child with an ostomy, we understand that fears and anxieties about what to expect and how to care for your child after surgery can arise. Take heart in knowing that this is normal. However, with support, patience, and a little practice, you should soon feel more comfortable caring for your child’s ostomy needs.
Prior to discharge, it can be a good idea to watch the procedure for changing a pouch, cleaning the ostomy and the peristomal area and make sure you understand any medications that your child needs to take. This can make your transition to home a little easier.
Waking up after surgery
After surgery, your child may be wearing an ostomy pouch. The pouch may be clear so the doctors and nurses can look at your child’s new ostomy. Sometimes, until the ostomy begins to function, it will only be covered by a piece of gauze. Once the ostomy begins to excrete, a pouch will be applied to collect the stool, ventilate and filter gas.
During the first few days, your child will only be given fluids to drink. Food will slowly be added to the diet as the intestinal function returns to normal. For babies on breast milk or formula, the stool may be watery and light-yellow in colour.
Make sure your child is comfortable
After surgery, when your child has any discomfort, a medication can be prescribed to help your child feel more comfortable. If your child experiences discomfort, be sure to bring this to the nurse’s attention so medications can be given. Your child will not be as frightened if discomfort is minimised. Being comfortable allows your child to move around and do post-surgical activities that speed up the healing process.