Feed & Swaddle for MRI and CT Exams

For infants referred to Lurie Children's for an MRI or CT exam, we use a technique called "feed and swaddle" to help babies remain still for the exam without having to give them medication or anesthesia. It is natural for most babies to fall asleep after feeding, so we can then perform the exam with your child undisturbed. 

When combined with your child’s regular sleep cycle, this method can be very successful. Feed and Swaddles are available at all times of the day.

How to Prepare for Your Child's Exam

During your visit with the Medical Imaging department, we recommend that you keep your child awake on the way to the appointment. This will make it easier for them to fall asleep at the time of their exam.

It is also helpful if your baby is hungry right up to the exam so that they are eager to feed. Please follow the feeding instructions closely: 

  • If you are using formula milk, please bring a feeding for your baby. We will ask you wait to feed your infant until your baby has been seen by someone from the MRI/CT department.
  • Our staff will provide guidance and tell you when to begin feeding.
  • You will be in a quiet environment until your baby falls asleep. When your baby is soundly sleeping, we will place them in the special comfortable holder and position them in the scanner.

We will be watching your baby closely throughout their examination. You may also stay with your baby throughout their exam. 

MRI Exams

  • Upon arrival, you will be asked to complete a metal safety questionnaire for you and your baby. You will be asked to leave any metal objects like jewelry, watches, keys, and cellphones in a locker outside the scanner room.
  • Any medication patches and monitors will be removed at this time.
  • Your baby will be weighed and measured, then changed, swaddled and earplugs placed prior to feeding. We will provide you with protective ear plugs to wear as well.

Exam Duration 

The scan time depends on the type of body part being imaged and the scan being done. CT exams are typically performed quickly. MRI examinations take longer and could last from 30-60 minutes. It is also dependent upon how still your baby remains, as movement will result in repeat imaging. If your baby is unsuccessful in completing the exam, a staff member will assist with rescheduling the study with anesthesia. Additional information regarding anesthesia can be found here.

Meet Our Team

Lurie Children’s Department of Medical Imaging performs m​ore than 115,000 procedures a year, helping our specialists care for their patients with the best imaging procedures possible. 

Meet Our Team

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment, please call 312.227.4277. X-rays and ultrasound studies may be scheduled, rescheduled, and canceled through mychart.luriechildrens.org.

For other questions or concerns, or to speak with a radiologist, please call 312.227.4500.

Billing & Financial Assistance Information

Visit this page to learn more about billing and financial assistance.

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