Our little one was sick, really sick, for some time. In the midst of high fevers and tonsillitis and bronchiolitis and acid reflux and other ailments, a specialist recommended not only an upper GI, but a colonoscopy as well. Our little girl went from baby to toddler in the midst of several hospitalizations and medical procedures. I haven’t really mentioned it here, but it was rough. Thankfully, we finally have some answers, and luckily, we have a positive outlook for the days ahead!
If you find yourself faced with a colonoscopy for your baby, toddler, preschooler, or small child, here are some things that I learned from our recent experience.
Preparing for your toddler’s colonoscopy
I am not going to lie and tell you that it is going to be easy, but it can be done with a little preparation! My 18-month-old did a full day of clear liquids–and she refused Gatorade, jell-o, and popsicles. We made it on water, apple juice, and chicken broth!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Consult with your doctor for medical advice.
When we received instructions from our doctor, my daughter had never had any of the food or drinks on the list, with the exception of water. How in the world are we going to do this for 24 hours?! I thought. Her procedure was scheduled for 8am on Wednesday, so she could eat actual food before 8am on Tuesday, so we did!
- Before 8am the day prior to the procedure, she ate a banana, cereal, and drank soymilk, which is a pretty typical breakfast. Nothing too terribly heavy. Then, at 8am, we cut her off, and I held my breath…
- Have new books, toys, and movies on hand. This is a very. good. idea. Have some interesting new distractions, but pace yourself and save some for later in the day.
- Stay away from the kitchen and any other spaces he/she associates with food. Obviously, don’t eat in front of him/her.
- Prepare your own meals the day before so you can sneak in the kitchen and eat when you’re able.
- Begin introducing the new clear liquid foods a couple of weeks or days in advance. Hopefully, you can ease these things in rather than making your hungry child mad on the big day.
- If you have another child or children, enlist help from grandparents or friends for the day before and the day of the procedure. The day before will likely be hard, plus you’ll be elbow-deep in diapers. The day of the procedure will be difficult due to your child’s recovery from anesthesia. Have another trusted adult help take care of your other children these two days.
- If you’re still breastfeeding, this will be a huge help as infants are allowed to have breastmilk most of the day and night prior to the procedure.
- Make a list of things to do in a pinch–go for a drive, a bikeride, a stroll in the park, or watch a new movie. Whatever is going to be peaceful and distracting and enjoyable.
- Have a plan and PREP everything you need to his/her liquid diet. That way, when you wake up, it is go time and you are ready. This includes: making the jell-o, prepping a sippy cup with water, prepping a sippy cup with juice, and having everything on one shelf of the fridge ready to go. After all, you need to have everything within easy reach since you won’t be taking your little one in the kitchen with you.
- Make sure you read and fully understand the Miralax directions ahead of time (if that’s what your doctor has prescribed). The dosage for little ones can be tricky to measure depending on the type you have.
- Have a lot of diapers, wipes, and diaper cream ready to go.
- Try to schedule the procedure for first thing in the morning. We just put our baby girl straight into the car so she didn’t “miss” her breakfast. We changed her diaper at the hospital as we put her into the hospital gown. No liquids are allowed this morning.
- If your child uses a pacifier, bring an extra one just in case. Better safe than sorry. This.can.be.critical.
- Before the procedure, the anesthesiologist can give your little one a flavored medication to calm him/her down if he/she is upset. This is helpful.
- Also consider bringing a movie or having a toddler-friendly movie on your phone or iPad.
- Pack a small cooler with a couple of your child’s favorite drinks, such a water or juice, in familiar sippy cups for after the procedure. Also pack a favorite snack like cheerios or goldfish for when he/she wakes up.
- Be prepared. What I mean is that little ones can be very disoriented, almost angry, when waking up from anesthesia. this can last several hours. Have food, drinks, and comfort items ready to go. Don’t plan anything the rest of the day, as it will be a day of recovery and rest.
Okay, mom, you can do this! I hope this list helps and that your little one bounces back very, very soon!