Jan Gambino Jan Gambino's Blog

Thanksgiving with your Baby

Thanksgiving is a time to gather friends and family and share a special meal. If you have a baby with reflux, it can be a very stressful time of year. Here are some ideas for making the best of the Thanksgiving holiday.

If you have an inconsolable baby with reflux, all of your free time is spent holding, feeding and comforting. On a good day, you are able to eat a quick meal or walk to the mailbox. So how are you going to find time to celebrate a holiday? It may not be realistic to make that special traditional holiday dish, much less the whole meal as you did in the past. Perhaps another family or friends could be in charge of the Thanksgiving meal this year and you can work on just getting your family there. It might be a good idea to hand over that special recipe to someone else too. This year, your job is to somehow pack up the baby and all of the “stuff” and show up!

Traveling a long distance with a baby with reflux may bring added stress and logistical issues. It is important to pack plenty of extra items such as special formula, medication and other supplies. It might be hard to find these items in another town or state. There is nothing worse than driving around late at night in a strange town looking for the all night pharmacy or grocery store for formula or medicine.

You might need to sit next to the car seat to keep an eye on your baby during the ride. It is likely there will be extra stops for feeding and medication. Some babies with reflux cannot tolerate even a short ride in a car seat. Perhaps you will need to travel at night or just celebrate the holiday closer to home. That was never an option for us. When my kids were young, we always made the 6 hour trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Sometimes we had to set up a small nursing station on the dashboard or stop at every rest stop to clean up the spit up. It was a real ordeal and it made me wonder if I had made the right decision. But once we arrived and joined in the celebration, it all seemed worth it.

It is inevitable that a gathering of relatives will lead to at least a tiny comment or bit of advice on raising children. I think just the sight of a baby is enough to spark vivid memories of our own experiences with child rearing. If grandma sees you struggling with your crying infant, she will remember how her firstborn with “colic” did the same thing. It is a natural instinct to want to help and pass along tips and advice. While this is all done with good intentions, you might be feeling a bit stressed from the long car ride or the chronic night waking and find this information to be insulting and intrusive at the moment. You might be extra sensitive about comments anyway because your struggles to comfort and care for your high-need baby are leaving you with doubts about your parenting abilities to begin with. Some parents find that they just let the comments go and seek support and affirmation from other parents of babies with reflux.

Doesn’t it seem like all of the other nieces and nephews look and act healthy and never cried for more than a minute in their entire life?! It is hard when relatives, friends and even your spouse compare another child to yours. These comments may leave you sad and discouraged. Some parents find that they can use humor or a catch phrase to offset these comments. For instance, if someone comments on the high pitched, non stop crying, you might want to point out that your baby has a painful medical condition called reflux and your doctor is helping you find a way to diminish the pain.

You might need to have a few “holiday outfits” on hand if your baby is prone to spit up. Better yet, just wait until the last minute to get all dressed up. Remember to take pictures of that first Thanksgiving. You will certainly have vivid memories of the event but you need a cute picture for the baby book.


Check with your
doctor first!