A friend emailed me last night looking for help for someone who is caring for a 6 month old baby that has acid reflux. She wrote that "my friend is at wit's end." I know this feeling well. When our own son with acid reflux was 6 months old, "wit's end" often described our good days. In this SharePost, I provide a strategic plan to help you or someone you love who is caring for a baby with acid reflux, especially if you feel you are nearing the end of your proverbial rope.
1) Take a Break - Trust me when I tell you that I know how hard this might be for you to arrange. I understand your little one may be screaming and spitting up, and maybe even choking more often than he should. You may be out of goodwill at your workplace, your family may be far away, and your "friends" may have made new, more sane-acting friends over the past several months. None-the-less, you have to find a way to take a break from caregiving so your body can get the rest it needs to think effectively about the resources available to you and your family. You and your partner may need to take shifts over the next week so the other one can leave the house and sleep, or you may need to hire two "twenty-somethings" at a time to come and spend the night and hold your baby upright (we found 3 a.m. didn't seem like such a big deal to them).
2) Make a List of Your Resources - Pull out a sketch pad and start brainstorming. What family members have the least on their own plate at this moment in time? Which friends have been through similar family crises? What support groups are available to help? What books have been written about acid reflux in infants and children?
3) Determine Your Immediate Needs - Decide what you need the most over the next 30 days. Do you need rides to soccer practice for your older child? If you had the laundry caught up would it make everything else seem less out-of-control? Do you think that if you could just find a food your baby could tolerate then the situation would be much more manageable? Decide on three of your most important needs - make sure you include your partner in the process if you are in this together.
4) Formulate a Communication Plan - A plan for effective communication isn't just for presidential hopefuls. It is for anyone who needs to operate in a complex world. And, between you and me, there may be some pretty dark thoughts emerging as the hopelessness and despair begin to creep in. Friends who have lived a full life understand, as do professionals who have been well-educated. Unfortunately, most others may not get it. Therefore, it is important that you take a few minutes and write a couple of paragraphs summarizing your situation and your needs. Keep it brief, and keep it as non-emotional as possible. Since our baby was born, this is what has happened. At this point, we aren't sure when things will be better. The strain is beginning to take its toll, and therefore we could use some help, at least for the next month...we've come up with three things that we believe would really make a difference...