Holiday Survival Tips for People with Acid Reflux Disease
The first holiday with a new baby is often full of changes, new tasks and the start of new traditions. When your baby has gastroesophageal reflux, your days are already too busy and it may seem like an impossible task to add one more thing to your day such as shopping at the mall which would necessitate wearing actual clothes and getting your unhappy baby to tolerate being buckled in the car seat. Or maybe you have always hosted the holiday meal but now a meal consists of a granola bar and a water bottle. It is possible to not only survive but even enjoy the holidays by balancing care giving and celebrating.
Perhaps you are in the middle of the last hectic days of preparation and feeling pretty overwhelmed by the things that are still on your to do list. Here are my tips for dealing with the holidays when you have a baby with reflux who needs you now.
Your baby will not cry and spit up forever. In fact, most babies outgrow reflux in the first year of life. So just for this year, really downsize and simplify the holiday tasks. Next year, you can do the hand calligraphy and wax seal on every holiday card. This year, forget about the cards or just send an email and attach a picture of your little one. Maybe a combined birth announcement and new years greeting would be ok?!
The same goes for the special foods you were hoping to make. This year, let the local bakery do the work for you. Another idea is to ask a friend or relative to do the cooking and baking. If someone else is able to hold the baby, you can either run to the kitchen to make the secret family recipe or wrap some gifts.
There might be one or two things that you really feel a strong need to do because it just wouldn’t be a holiday if you didn’t make the traditional plum pudding or went to the open house event. It is important to do one or two things that while time consuming, will bring you a sense of tradition or fulfillment. Ask others to help you. I know a mom who asked her friend to be her baking assistant one year. They took turns baking and holding the baby until the cookies were baked and even managed to have fun in the process. As the years went by, this became a holiday tradition as more babies were added to the mix and there was even a bigger need for teamwork and companionship!
The mall is full of hustle and bustle and long lines. The last thing you need is to take a high need baby on a shopping trip. Perhaps you could finish your holiday shopping at the food store or specialty food market. Fresh flowers, fresh fruit and individually wrapped items such as coffee, jam and snacks can be arranged in a gift basket or bag. You can even make a theme basket: a breakfast basket might include maple syrup, pancake mix, coffee and cocoa. Better yet, shop online so you and your baby can avoid the germs and the crowds.
Get Some Rest
Your immune system is in overdrive just from the demands of caring for a baby with reflux. During the holidays you may get even less sleep and be exposed to even more germs. Be sure to take whatever steps you can to stay healthy-vitamins, exercise, a big glass of water and as much sleep as you can.
Ask for Help
This is the hardest thing for me to do. I am the independent, “I can do it myself” kind of person. Asking for help seems like a sign of weakness until you have a baby with reflux. With all of your friends and family gathering for the holidays, be sure to ask for some help. Mention to grandma that you would love to have her stay for a few days and help out. Accept an offer of a hot meal when you know you have a clinic appointment that will take up most of your day.
While this year may be different and stressful, you can still enjoy it. Perhaps a new tradition will be born. If nothing else, you will have a great story to tell your child about his or her first holiday. Don’t forget to take a picture. Oh, one more thing- Let “Simplify, Downsize, Get Some Rest and Ask for Help” be your New Year’s resolution mantra for 2010!