Memorial Hermann - A New Beginning

MANAGING YOUR NEWBORN’S PAIN People once believed that babies were too young to feel pain. We now know that babies do indeed feel pain. All patients, including babies, have the right to receive appropriate pain management. MEASURING PAIN Because babies can’t tell us they hurt, it is important to look closely to identify any signs of discomfort. Babies can show us they are experiencing pain in many ways. Some of the signs of pain may be the same as symptoms of other problems, so it is important to consider all the possible reasons for the changes you may see. Signs of pain may be:

Facial Expression • Wrinkled forehead • Frowning • Eyes squeezed tight • Mouth stretched wide

Cry • Intense • Harsh

Body Movement • Pulling away • Fist clenching • Increased activity • Swiping or thrashing • Stiffness or limpness • Decreased activity

Increased or Decreased • Heart rate

Other Possible Signs • Shallow breathing • Sweating • Skin coloring: pale, flushed or blue

• Loud or weak • High-pitched • Starts suddenly • Prolonged

• Blood pressure • Breathing rate • Skin temperature

To help your baby be comfortable while in the hospital, we watch your baby for signs of pain. We measure the amount of pain whenever we check your baby’s vital signs (breathing rate, heart rate, temperature) both during and after procedures or surgery.

COMFORT ACTIVITIES Some ways to comfort newborns experiencing pain include: • Breastfeeding • Rocking • Holding your baby skin-to-skin • Swaddling in a blanket • Keeping the room quiet and calm • Positioning or holding the baby with arms and legs tucked close to the body • Providing nonnutritive sucking during the painful procedure (sucking on finger or pacifier – discard pacifier after procedure)

PAIN MEDICINE Oral Sucrose and/or glucose solutions can be effective in neonates undergoing mild to moderately painful procedures, either alone or in combination with other pain relief strategies. When pain is strong, medicine is usually needed to provide relief. Pain medicine can be swallowed, applied to the skin, injected into skin or muscle or given through a small tube that is placed into a blood vessel (intravenous catheter or IV). How the medicine is given depends on the medicine used to manage the pain, the type and location of the pain and the age and abilities of the baby. WORKING TOGETHER TO MANAGE PAIN Our goal is to help every baby be as comfortable as possible. Let us know how we can work with you to comfort and nurture your baby.

PATIENT RIGHTS Patients and their family caregivers at this hospital can expect: • Information about pain and pain relief. • Concerned staff committed to pain prevention and management.

• Health professionals who respond quickly to the identification of pain. • Up-to-date pain management strategies.


Your Guide to Postpartum and Newborn Care

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