Jan Gambino Jan Gambino's Blog

Best Holiday Survival Tips

If you read my last blog about my daughter Rebecca’s first Christmas, you know that reflux and other illnesses can really make it challenging to get ready for the holidays. 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 allow yourself to really downsize and simplify the holiday tasks just for this year. 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 with an attachment of the little refluxer. Maybe a combined birth announcement and new years greeting?! 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.

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, give someone else the shopping list 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:
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. Some parents use the Health Central Caregiver Tool to alert friends and family about their little one and coordinate assistance such as meals and childcare. Go to http://www.healthcentral.com/carecentral/mypages/index.html?sp=2149 to get started.

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.


Check with your
doctor first!