When my daughter was in the midst of the reflux years, it was difficult for me to plan my morning much less my year. All of the little caretaking duties combined into one hugely busy schedule. A holiday or wedding was an overwhelming logistical hurdle to resolve, not a celebration to look forward too. If you are still in the middle of the intense caretaking needed for a baby with reflux, you might think it is crazy to set goals and priorities for the year. Maybe in the pre-dawn darkness, when your baby wakes up or you are holding her so she can digest, you will have a moment to look ahead and make plans for the New Year. I encourage you to start slowly and see how it goes.
Here are my top picks for New Years Resolutions when you are a Reflux Mom:
1. Routine Health Maintenance: It is vitally important for caretakers to go to the doctor and dentist routinely. Caring for a sick family member can drain your immune system and cause new health concerns. Make sure you set up these appointments well in advance so you don't forget.
2. Stay Hydrated: Most people do not drink enough water and become dehydrated. Drinking water will improve your alertness, lower your blood pressure and help your body work better. Now wasn't that easy?! Many moms find that it is easier to remember to drink if there is a pitcher of filtered water in the refrigerator or a favorite water bottle they keep with them whether at home or on an outing to the pediatrician's office.
3. Step Out: Exercise can make a huge difference mentally and physically. It might not be reasonable to join a club or class. I know moms who take their babies on a walk each day, whether they are asleep or screaming. Think of it this way, would you rather hold your baby as she screams in your house or outside while walking when the air is clear and the sun is shining?
4. Watch Your Back: Make sure you support your back while holding your baby, nursing and using carriers. Your baby probably needs more holding and burping than the average baby so be careful. I talk to one or more Reflux moms a week who tell me they sleep with the baby on their shoulder in a recliner or propped up in bed. This can be exhausting and a big strain on your back. Maybe you could schedule a massage once in a while if finances allow.
5. Take a Nap: This is my favorite. I think caretakers should take a nap every day, especially Reflux moms who find themselves pulling the night shift after a long day of caretaking. A nap always lifted my spirits and gave me a burst of energy. If a daily nap seems too unrealistic, aim for a weekend nap when dad can take a turn managing the household.