With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I am sure the dads and relatives are scanning the newspaper ads for gift ideas. Flowers, chocolates or jewelry come to mind but this year is different. Infant reflux has changed everything. Maybe you still need the flowers and the chocolate but the mother of a baby with reflux may be craving some other gift items. Here are some ideas:
The Gift of Sleep
Sleep deprivation and infant reflux seem to be a package deal. While you might not be able to take the night shift every night, make a plan with mom to give her a night off. Mom may need to leave the house to avoid the crying or just sleep in another part of the house. If your little one is nursing, maybe mom can pump some milk for a feeding or you can be the assistant-bring the baby to her or get her some hot tea or a glass of water. As soon as the baby is done nursing, you are in charge of the diaper change, burping and holding. If she just won’t stop crying, you and the baby might need to take a ride around the neighborhood in the car.
The Gift of a Hot Meal
Holding a baby and fixing a meal is not impossible but it feels like more than double the work. It could take a whole afternoon to make dinner: make a salad and place in the refrig during the 2-2:20pm catnap, assemble the pots and pans at 4pm, quickly assemble the main course with the baby in the front carrier or with the swing grinding back and fourth, etc. Mom will be happy to have a takeout meal, heated casserole from a neighbor or relative, or a full meal prepared by you: The Dinner Committee. Mom will be thrilled if you do the dishes and scrub out the sink too. She has been meaning to do that for weeks but she just can’t find the time.
The Gift of Extra Hands
Oh there is so much to do but mom spends so much time feeding, holding, making medication or formula and doctors appointments. She may have gotten by on 6 hours of sleep but she stared at the dirty house for 18 hours as she walked with a fussy baby or rushed past the laundry basket on her way to the doctor’s office again. You can give her the gift of extra hands for holding the baby while she rushes around to clean and tidy up or better yet, tackle the “To Do” list for her.
The Gift of Positive Energy
Caring for a high need baby can stress out the calmest mother. It can also cause mom to doubt herself. She may be thinking: Am I a good mother? Did I do something wrong? Will my life always be this difficult? Will my husband still love me if I never have time to take a shower or fix my hair? On Mother’s Day and every day, take a moment to let her know that she is doing a great job and you admire her for enduring the crying and the long days and nights of care giving. Tell her she is the best mom ever.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Reflux Moms!