Now that Memorial Day is past, it is time to plan your summer vacation. If your little refluxer cries as soon as you strap her in the car seat to drive to the pediatrician’s office, the idea of driving to the beach or the mountains may seem like a bad idea. Perhaps you are thinking of just staying home this year.
One mom I talked with said she was thinking of canceling a long anticipated family reunion on a cruise ship. She didn’t think it was possible to survive traveling with her baby who cried almost non stop and vomited after every feeding. There were other worries too: How would she eat those lavish and luscious meals with a crying baby? Would she be stuck in the cabin? Would the crying keep the other passengers up at night? What if he got sick and needed medical care while at sea or at a small island port? Would they make her and the baby “walk the plank” like Pirates of the Carribean?!
When my daughter Rebecca was a baby, there were times that I didn’t want to travel more than 50 miles from home (or about an hour from our familiar doctors and hospital). Life was enough of an adventure already-there was no need to make it any more complex! In time, we did venture further. This led to many visits to urgent care centers and emergency rooms near and far. I know there are some campers in Colorado who still wonder why we abruptly left our warm sleeping bags at 3am and then returned just after dawn to quickly pack and leave.
I decided early on to just keep traveling despite the fears and what ifs. This meant careful planning and over packing. It looked like we were attempting to fit the contents of our house into the van just to go away for the weekend. Often we actually needed all of the “stuff” we brought such as emergency food and medication. While my daughter was on a special diet, it was hard to eat at restaurants or have the right foods and drinks on demand. If we were visiting relatives or friends, we could not expect them to have the exact food that we needed.
We went camping, flew on airplanes, stayed in hotels, toured Disneyworld and even drove half way across the United States. We found the hotels with mini refrigerators for our food and drinks and the pharmacy near Grandma’s that was even open on Christmas day. There is much repetition and routine associated with intensive home care. It was always nice to break the routine and get out into the world rather than staying at home. Even if we had to pause or change our plans due to health issues, it was well worth the effort.
If you are wondering what it would be like to travel with your refluxer, it might make sense to start with a day trip or quick overnight visit. Some parents find that it is easier to travel at night. If you are lucky, your little one will sleep as long as the car is moving. If your baby is upset riding in a car seat, you might need to stay closer to home. You could always ask the grandparents or your friends to visit you this year and take day trips from your home base. Perhaps next year, you will be able to pack up and get out of town.