Here are some items I found helpful for both his initial hospital stay and his Glenn surgery stay:
1. Sound machine
There are a lot of noises in the hospital. From monitors to other patients, it's not going to be as quiet at you'd like. Plus the door is constantly opening with doctors, nurses, technicians, and hospital crew coming in and out. We found a sound machine very helpful for Jack. It was always on, creating a little bit of peace in an otherwise chaotic environment. Some hospitals provide them, so make sure to ask.
Here's the most important comfort item your baby can have. The hospitals have lots of blankets and wraps but because the amount of washes they go through, I never found them very soft. Jack was always wrapped in his favorite soft blankie. It has some stains on it now from his drainage tube, but we refer to them (and his zipper) as "battle scars".
3. Snap full-body jammies
Your baby probably won't be able to wear clothes, especially at first. After our first week in the CICU, Jack was transferred to the "step-down" unit (the regular cardiology floor) and from there we had some flexibility on clothes, socks, hats, etc. Snap jammies are the easiest thing for the babies to have on (besides a hat). They're going to have a lot of lines and IVs on them, so zippers are out of the question. The lines can easily fit through the snaps, and the staff can just open a few to check certain areas.
4. Toys to grab
Tummy time is absolutely out of the question for 4 weeks after open-chest surgery. Our little one seemed to get bored just laying there. And it wasn't exactly easy to pick him up and sit him up all the time. This is where grabby toys came into play. Baby keys, crinkly books, and rattles were a great distraction during shots, IV changes, medicine administration, you name it!
Your voice is very comforting to your baby; it's probably the most calming thing in the world, besides you holding him. Talking to him quickly became emotional for me because I was trying to give him words of encouragement and love all the time. While those words are important, I found myself crying all the time! Reading cute baby books allowed me to get my mind off of what he's going through while still providing the loving tones of my voice.
6. Deck of cards
You can only watch so much HGTV before you start to lose your mind. Your baby will need lots of rest so those nap times can get pretty boring! Play some games with your partner or solitaire by yourself to help pass the time (quietly).